I was trying to find the original meanings of "atrium" and "ventricle" before they were adopted by heart anatomy. So far I learned that atrium is a word in architecture. But it seems that "ventricle" isn't. What is the original meaning of a ventricle and why is it used together with "atrium" for heart structures?

2 Answers 2


The atrium, in the anatomy of the heart, is where blood first flows in and probably, by analogy, the term was used as it indicated the first main entrance room in an ancient Roman house.


The anatomical sense of "either of the upper cavities of the heart" first recorded 1870.

Ventricle appears to have an older usage in as it refers more generally to a bodily cavity, but is mainly used to refer to the heart anatomy.


late 14c., "small chamber or cavity within a bodily organ," especially of the heart, from Latin ventriculus (in reference to the heart, ventriculus cordis), literally "little belly," diminutive of venter (genitive ventris) "belly"


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    Another term for the a heart atrium is the 'auricle'. meaning 'a little ear', presumably in contrast to its much larger nearby cavity.
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 17:27

Well, the word ventricle is derived from the Latin word ventriculus meaning "a digestive cavity (such as a gizzard or stomach)." Because of that, I doubt if you will find any other usage for the same word. But, here is some additional information from The Online Dictionary, the Cambridge Dictionary, and Merriam Webster.

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