- a bed of earth covered with glass and heated by manure, electricity, etc. for forcing plants
- any place that fosters rapid growth or extensive activity
- An environment conducive to vigorous growth or development, especially of something undesirable: a hotbed of intrigue.
- A bed of soil that is covered with glass, fiberglass, or plastic, is heated with fermenting manure or by electricity, and is used for germinating seeds or protecting tender plants.
- a low bed of earth covered with glass, and heated with rotting manure; used for the germination of seeds and the growth of tender plants. A hotbed works as a miniature hothouse, i.e. greenhouse.
- (by extension) an environment that is ideal for the growth or development of something, especially of something undesirable