menagerie


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

menagerie

1. a collection of wild animals kept for exhibition
2. the place where such animals are housed

Menagerie

 

a collection of wild animals kept in cages and intended for exhibition. Menageries go back to the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian kings, the Egyptian pharaohs, and the ancient Persian rulers. In Europe, menageries were associated with the ancient Roman circuses; their animals were used to persecute people.

In the late 18th century and early 19th, traveling menageries owned by private entrepreneurs began to appear in various European countries, including Russia. They exhibited for purely commercial purposes what were considered the “wonders” of the animal world—for example, elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys, bears, crocodiles, peacocks, boa constrictors, and parrots. These menageries were essentially amusement enterprises, and they have been eliminated in the USSR. Menageries were the precursors of zoological gardens.

References in classic literature ?
Raffles, walking with the uneasy gait of a town loiterer obliged to do a bit of country journeying on foot, looked as incongruous amid this moist rural quiet and industry as if he had been a baboon escaped from a menagerie.
I belong to Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows--three rings in one tent and a menagerie on the side.
The Woozy has proved himself a good Woozy and a faithful friend," the Wizard went on, "so we will send him to the Royal Menagerie, where he will have good care and plenty to eat all his life.
In similar ways she had experienced unusual feelings when she looked at wild animals in the menagerie, or when she witnessed a storm of wind, or shuddered at the bright-ribbed lightning.
When the Circling Brothers' big three-ring show on a hard winter went into the hands of the receivers, he boarded the menagerie and the horses and in three months turned a profit of fifteen thousand dollars.
A WISE and illustrious Writer of Fables was visiting a travelling menagerie with a view to collecting literary materials.
When, as was commonly the case, I had none to commune with, I used to raise the echoes by striking with a paddle on the side of my boat, filling the surrounding woods with circling and dilating sound, stirring them up as the keeper of a menagerie his wild beasts, until I elicited a growl from every wooded vale and hillside.
Through the dim smoke-haze the bunks looked like the sleeping dens of animals in a menagerie.
There was a smell within, coming up from the floor, of tethered beasts, like the smell of a menagerie of wild animals.
And then there was another roaring, like that of a whole menagerie when the elephant has rung the bell for the cold meat.
You must be better than a whole menagerie of pets to her.
Now, the old sofa was a regular patriarch of a sofa--long, broad, well-cushioned, and low, a trifle shabby, as well it might be, for the girls had slept and sprawled on it as babies, fished over the back, rode on the arms, and had menageries under it as children, and rested tired heads, dreamed dreams, and listened to tender talk on it as young women.