dwell·​ing | \ ˈdwe-liŋ How to pronounce dwelling (audio) \

Definition of dwelling

: a shelter (such as a house) in which people live

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Examples of dwelling in a Sentence

the simple dwellings in which the Pilgrims spent the first winter at Plymouth

Recent Examples on the Web

The romance of a tiny portable home is forever linked to images of open highways during America’s postwar leisure era, but such transient dwellings in fact made their way into the public imagination in Europe much earlier. Nancy Hass, New York Times, "A (Teenager’s) Caravan in Tuscany," 14 Feb. 2018 Of 1,692 houses, condo buildings and other dwellings in Mexico Beach, 809 were destroyed or substantially damaged, said Tanya Castro, the city administrator. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Flattened by Hurricane Michael, Florida Town Tries to Stave Off Big Development," 3 Apr. 2019 Manufactured homes used to be known as mobile or trailer homes, but housing laws in the 1970s and ‘80s officially distinguished these dwellings from true mobile homes, which are trailers set on wheels. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "The Impressive Evolution Of Prefabricated Houses," 24 Dec. 2018 The sunny dwelling has multiple skylights and windows that look out onto a landscaped backyard filled with garden paths and trees, as well as peeks of the ocean. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Rustic midcentury cabin minutes from beach asks $798K," 20 Nov. 2018 These bats were captured inside three human dwellings within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of one another, where livestock and crops were being raised for local consumption. Kimberly Hickok, Fox News, "Scientists discover a sixth species of Ebola virus — in bats," 27 Aug. 2018 Because there’s a limited supply of Wright dwellings, the Trust strives to not have the same home every year. Felicia Dechter, chicagotribune.com, "Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk features familiar favorites, as well as private homes," 15 May 2018 Friedman said this week that 70 percent of The Luxe's dwellings are now rented. Jeff Piorkowski/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Plans shown for another townhome development east of Cedar-Brainard's The Luxe," 13 Apr. 2018 The case was settled when the owner agreed to return the home back to a single-family dwelling, said Licensing and Inspections Commissioner David Perri. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Illegal Philly boarding house where 4 died owned by former San Diego federal agent," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dwelling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dwelling

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dwelling

see dwell

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Statistics for dwelling

Last Updated

12 May 2019

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Time Traveler for dwelling

The first known use of dwelling was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for dwelling



English Language Learners Definition of dwelling

formal : a place where a person lives


dwell·​ing | \ ˈdwe-liŋ\

Kids Definition of dwelling

: a shelter in which a person or an animal lives



Legal Definition of dwelling

: a structure where a person lives and especially sleeps

called also dwelling house

— see also burglary

Note: Courts disagree as to how permanent or consistent the habitation of a structure must be in order for it to be considered a dwelling, but most courts agree that a dwelling includes its curtilage.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dwelling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dwelling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dwelling

Spanish Central: Translation of dwelling

Nglish: Translation of dwelling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dwelling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dwelling

What made you want to look up dwelling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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