Sanatorium vs sanatarium

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Sanatorium and sanitarium are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation. We will look at the difference between the words sanatorium and sanitarium and some examples of their use in sentences.

A sanatorium is a facility where people with chronic illnesses or a need to convalesce are treated. Sanatoriums were first established in the 1800s, mostly to treat tuberculosis. The purposes of a sanatorium was to first, isolate the afflicted from the healthy population and second, afford the patient a healthy environment in which to heal. Before the advent of antibiotics, tuberculosis was a scourge on the population. Tuberculosis was also known as the Great White Plague because of the extreme paleness of people with the disease. The only treatment available was fresh air, good food and the luxury to lie in bed and encourage the body to heal itself. With the invention of antibiotics, the sanatorium has for the most part, gone by the wayside. However, some older institutions still retain the name sanatorium. The plural form of sanatorium may be rendered as either sanatoriums or sanatoria.

A sanitarium is also a facility where people with chronic illnesses or a need to convalesce are treated. The plural forms are sanitariums or sanitaria. The terms sanatorium and sanitarium are interchangeable, however, sanitarium is primarily a North American word. The difference between the words is their origin, though it is not much of a difference. The word sanitorium is derived from the Late Latin word sanitorius, which means health-giving. The word sanitarium is derived from the Latin word sanitas, which means health.


With a degree in nursing from the University of Iowa and a degree in theology from Faith Theological Seminary in Delaware—where she graduated in 1951 as the only woman in a class of 17—Collyn served for seven years as head of nursing at Berakah Tuberculosis Sanitorium, a mission hospital just outside Bethlehem in Jordan. (The Chatanoogan)

ST PETER’S College will buy the former Sanitarium site in Hackney to expand its campus, ending speculation the land will be redeveloped for housing. (The Advertiser)