aquarium (n.)

1830, "artificial pond in a garden or elsewhere for growing aquatic plants," noun use of neuter of Latin aquarius "pertaining to water" (also, as a noun, "water-carrier"), genitive of aqua "water" (from PIE root *akwa- "water").

The noun aquarium in Latin meant "drinking place for cattle." In English, the meaning "vessel of glass filled with water in which living aquatic animals are kept indoors" is by 1853. The Victorian mania for indoor aquariums began with the book "The Aquarium," published 1854 by English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse. An earlier attempt at a name for "fish tank" was marine vivarium.

updated on September 24, 2022