What is a natatorium?

flickr lee coursey

Natatorium — What the heck is that?

Sometimes, but not often, I come across a word I have not heard.  One that came up recently is the word natatorium.  Do you know what a natatorium is?

A natatorium is swimming pool. It is usually in a separate freestanding building. Like many words, natatorium has its roots in Latin.  A cella natatoria was a swimming pool in its own building.

Sometimes the term is also applied to any indoor pool even if not housed in a dedicated building Examples of this would be a pool at a school or a fitness club.   Many colleges and universities have natatoria.

I said I never heard of the word but I think there was a natatorium used in many of the past Olympics, I just wasn’t paying attention to the word then.


2 responses to “What is a natatorium?

  1. John Sinclair

    In the rural East Texas town where I grew up (Lufkin in the 1950s-60s), the local pool was known to everyone as the Natatorium, or “Nat”. I thought that would be a common appellation anyone would know, until I left there and found out differently.

  2. Thanks for your insights on the word natatorium, John.