aviary ; apiary

An aviary is a place for captive birds; an apiary is a place for bees and beehives. The words derive from the Latin terms avis (= bird) and apis (= bee). Aviary has been the victim of slipshod extension in the sense insectarium (= a place for keeping and breeding insects)—e.g.:

  • “Renaker is donating land and building materials to construct an aviary [read insectarium] where the insects will be bred and studied.”

    Terry Rodgers, “Beauties and the Base,” San Diego Union-Trib., 12 Dec. 1991, at A1 (referring to butterflies).

  • “The Insectarium features thousands of living and mounted insects from all over the world, a butterfly aviary [read, perhaps, lepidoptarium or butterfly tent], a working hive of bees and hands-on games.”

    Allen Bradford, “Montreal Spices Birthday Fest with Charm and French Flavor,” Wash. Times, 4 Oct. 1992, at E1.

Language-Change Index

aviary misused for insectarium, etc.: Stage 1

An asterisk (✳) precedes words and phrases that are invariably inferior forms.
Garner’s Modern American Usage, Bryan A. Garner