What kind of place do you call home? Is it a house? A condominium? An apartment? Something else entirely?

Today, Wonderopolis takes a closer look at a special kind of home called an apartment. Apartments are complete homes that occupy only part of a larger building. If you've ever seen an apartment building in a large city, you know that a large building can contain hundreds of homes within it in the form of apartments.

Of course, if all those apartments are stuck together to form one big building, one might WONDER why they're called apart — ments! And that's a great question! The word “apartment" comes from the French word appartement and the Italian word appartimento, both of which mean “a separated place."

If you think about it, it makes sense. Even though all the apartments within a single building are indeed stuck together, they are also apart from each other. Each apartment is a separate residence apart from the others!

Apartment buildings are often owned by a single owner who then rents out the individual apartments to people who are called tenants. Apartments that are owned by their tenants are often called condominiums. In Great Britain, apartments are usually called “flats."

Apartments are usually defined by the number of bedrooms they have. A one-, two-, or three-bedroom apartment obviously has the corresponding number of bedrooms.

Some small apartments, however, have one main room that serves as the dining, living and bedroom combined. These apartments are called studio, efficiency, or bachelor apartments.

People who live in apartments usually share certain common areas with the others who live in the same building. These common areas can include lobbies, laundry facilities, mail rooms, and even swimming pools or exercise facilities.

Apartments have been around for a long time. Ancient Rome and Egypt both featured large apartment buildings. The need for apartments arose as cities became larger and populations grew. Urban areas simply don't have enough real estate for everyone to have a house.

Many people prefer to live in apartments rather than houses, too. Apartments generally are easier to maintain than houses, since many of the maintenance functions are taken care of by the owner of the apartment building. Apartments also often allow people to live in the heart of a city where houses tend to be very expensive.

Many apartment buildings also offer better security in the form of doormen and alarm systems. In larger cities, this added security can give apartment tenants peace of mind.

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will have you on your feet and dancing!