hypocaust
/huy"peuh kawst', hip"euh-/, n.
a hollow space or system of channels in the floor or walls of some ancient Roman buildings that provided a central heating system by receiving and distributing the heat from a furnace.
[1670-80; < L hypocaustum < Gk hypókauston room heated from below, equiv. to hypo- HYPO- + kaustón, neut. of kaustós (verbal adj.) heated, burned; see CAUSTIC]

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      in building construction, open space below a floor that is heated by gases from a fire or furnace below and that allows the passage of hot air to heat the room above. This type of heating was developed by the Romans, who used it not only in the warm and hot rooms of the baths but also almost universally in private houses in the northern provinces.

      Many examples of such hypocausts exist in villa and house foundations in Roman centres in Germany and England. The usual custom was to lead the hot air from a hypocaust into a single vertical flue in the wall of the room to be heated, through which the hot air and smoke escaped into the open air. Where greater warmth was desired, several flues would lead up from the hypocaust in the side walls of the room; at times these wall flues consisted of hollow, oblong tiles, set close together, entirely around the room.

      The usual construction of a basement hypocaust consisted of a layer of tiles laid continuously in a bed of concrete for the bottom surface. Piers approximately 8 inches (20 cm) square and about 2 feet apart were used as the supports for the hypocaust's internal space. The floor above was made of concrete or of large square tiles supporting a bed of concrete, on which the finished floor of marble or mosaic tessera was laid.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hypocaust — Hyp o*caust, n. [L. hypocaustum, Gr. ?; ? under + ? to burn: cf. F. hypocauste.] (Anc. Arch.) A furnace, esp. one connected with a series of small chambers and flues of tiles or other masonry through which the heat of a fire was distributed to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hypocaust — ► NOUN ▪ an ancient Roman heating system, comprising a hollow space under the floor into which hot air was directed. ORIGIN Greek hupokauston place heated from below …   English terms dictionary

  • hypocaust — [hī′pō kôst΄, hip′ōkôst΄] n. [L hypocaustum < Gr hypokauston < hypokaiein, to heat by applying fire below < hypo (see HYPO ) + kaiein, to burn] a space below the floor in some ancient Roman buildings, into which hot air was piped to warm …   English World dictionary

  • Hypocaust — A hypocaust (Latin hypocaustum ) is an ancient Roman system of central heating. The word literally means heat from below , from the Greek hypo meaning below or underneath, and kaiein , to burn or light a fire. They are traditionally considered to …   Wikipedia

  • Hypocaust — Ein Hypokaustum oder Hypokauste (griech. hypokauston = „von unten heizen“) ist eine Warmluftheizung (Hypokaustenheizung), bei der ein massiver Körper mit warmer Luft durchströmt wird, der aber im Vergleich zu einem Heizkörper eine niedrigere… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hypocaust — noun Etymology: Latin hypocaustum, from Greek hypokauston, from hypokaiein to light a fire under, from hypo + kaiein to burn Date: 1678 an ancient Roman central heating system with underground furnace and tile flues to distribute the heat …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hypocaust — noun a) An underfloor space or flue through which heat from a furnace passes to heat the floor of a room or a bath, as illustrated by the ancient Roman hypocaustum, and the traditional Korean ondol (온돌, 溫突). b) An underfloor heating system, even… …   Wiktionary

  • hypocaust —    (HYE poh kawst) [Latin, from Greek] In ancient Rome, a space or channel, under the floor or in the wall, in which heated air was received and distributed through a central heating system. In the summer palace of Herod the Great (d. 4 b.c.) on… …   Dictionary of foreign words and phrases

  • hypocaust — [ hʌɪpə(ʊ)kɔ:st] noun an ancient Roman heating system, comprising a hollow space under the floor into which hot air was directed. Origin from L. hypocaustum, from Gk hupokauston place heated from below …   English new terms dictionary

  • hypocaust — hy·po·caust …   English syllables

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