noun, often attributive
\ ˈhau̇s How to pronounce house (audio) \
plural houses\ ˈhau̇-​zəz How to pronounce houses (audio) also  -​səz How to pronounce houses (audio) \

Definition of house

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a building that serves as living quarters for one or a few families : home invited them to her house for dinner a two-family house
2a(1) : a shelter or refuge (such as a nest or den) of a wild animal
(2) : a natural covering (such as a test or shell) that encloses and protects an animal or a colony of zooids
b : a building in which something is sheltered or stored a carriage house
3a astrology : one of the 12 equal sectors (see sector entry 1 sense 1a) in which the celestial sphere is divided
b astrology : a sign of the zodiac that is the seat of a planet's greatest influence the house occupied by Jupiter
4a : household woke up the whole house
b : a family including ancestors, descendants, and kindred the house of Tudor
5a : a residence for a religious community or for students a fraternity house
b : the community or students living in such a residence
6a government : a legislative, deliberative, or consultative assembly especially : one constituting a division of a bicameral body a bill approved by both houses of Congress
b : the building or chamber where such an assembly meets
c : a quorum of such an assembly
7a : a place of business or entertainment a movie house the local fish house a house of prostitution
b(1) : a business organization a publishing house
(2) : a gambling establishment
c : the audience in a theater or concert hall a full house on opening night
8 curling : the circular area 12 feet in diameter surrounding the tee and within which a curling stone must rest in order to count
9 [ from The Warehouse, Chicago dance club that pioneered the style ] : a type of dance music mixed by a disc jockey that features overdubbing with a heavy repetitive drumbeat and repeated electronic melody lines
on the house
: without charge : free


\ ˈhau̇z How to pronounce house (audio) \
housed; housing

Definition of house (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to provide with living quarters or shelter a place to house their guests
b : to store in a building the barn where they house their boat
2 : to encase, enclose, or shelter as if by putting in a house (see house entry 1) so timorous a soul housed in so impressive a body— A. W. Long
3 : to serve as a shelter or container for : contain buildings that house government offices

intransitive verb

: to take shelter : lodge


biographical name
\ ˈhau̇s How to pronounce House (audio) \

Definition of House (Entry 3 of 3)

Edward Mandell 1858–1938 Colonel House American diplomat

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from house


houseful \ ˈhau̇s-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce houseful (audio) \ noun
houseless \ ˈhau̇-​sləs How to pronounce houseless (audio) \ adjective
houselessness noun

Examples of house in a Sentence


Would you like to come to my house for dinner? I spent the weekend just puttering around the house. He made enough noise to wake the whole house.


More prisons are needed to house the growing number of inmates. The museum houses an impressive collection of jewels. The carpenter built casing to house the hot water pipes.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ranstrom is 51, just bought a house, and these days works a shipwright. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Dead Baby Bikes Downhill brings ‘gleeful mayhem’ to Seattle streets," 3 Aug. 2019 Criminal damaging, Sylvan: After a woman’s visiting sister created problems by yelling and throwing things July 17, she was asked to leave the house. Joan Rusek,, "Police called for a snake in the garage and an unwanted insurance salesman: Russell Township, Ohio," 2 Aug. 2019 Rodriguez, a social worker, had left his New City house last Friday with his three youngest children in his vehicle. Tiffany Cusaac-smith, USA TODAY, "Dozens gather to mourn twin toddlers who died in hot car," 2 Aug. 2019 The interior of the sacred space, which is located in west-central Thailand, calls to mind a house of mirrors like the ones typically found inside a fun house. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Six of Thailand’s Most Magnificent Temples," 2 Aug. 2019 Bevin bought the house in March of 2017 for $1.6 million from Neil Ramsey, a major donor to Bevin political causes and a former Bevin appointee to the board of Kentucky Retirement Systems. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Property tax appeals board gets a better look at Gov. Matt Bevin's mansion this time," 31 July 2019 The grandmother took the boy, left the house and called police. Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Homicide investigation underway in Oceanside," 31 July 2019 Plus, my parents would have killed for me leaving the house like that. David Obuchowski, Longreads, "Searching for The Sundays," 30 July 2019 Police searched the two-story Gilroy home of the gunman's family and a dusty car parked outside before leaving the house Monday less than a mile from the festival with paper bags and what appeared to be other evidence. CBS News, "What we know about Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter Santino William Legan," 29 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The history of what’s happened is summed up in a couple of throwaway shots of newspaper headlines, plus a vague anecdote about an encampment where women survivors are housed in a bunker. Owen Gleiberman,, "‘Light of My Life’ review: Casey Affleck directs father, daughter on a rudderless journey through dystopian times," 7 Aug. 2019 The source said he is currently housed in the El Paso county jail. CBS News, "20 killed, dozens injured in El Paso shooting," 4 Aug. 2019 On June 26, more than 2,300 unaccompanied children were housed there, officials said. Rosa Flores, CNN, "Unaccompanied minors removed from controversial Homestead, Florida facility," 3 Aug. 2019 The organization’s building now houses an after-school program run by the county’s YMCA, giving kids free and safe activities on weekday afternoons. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Children’s Books on Wheels still serving Tamina community after 15 years," 2 Aug. 2019 Mauro Verzeletti, the director of Casa del Migrante in Guatemala City, said his shelter has housed more than 8,000 migrants this year. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, "Trump Officials Argued Over Asylum Deal With Guatemala. Now Both Countries Must Make It Work.," 2 Aug. 2019 Officials say the sheriff’s office will house the vehicle and fulfill associated costs. USA TODAY, "Momoa at Mauna Kea, Confederate context, Guthrie garbage tribute: News from around our 50 states," 2 Aug. 2019 Weaver also plans to hire a housing and workforce development coach, who will guide the women through the process of becoming employed and housed. Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, "Homeless single moms find refuge in this Oakland house," 1 Aug. 2019 Located just south of Fillmore Street, Taylor Place fills the block between First and Second streets and currently houses a student-only dining hall, a Starbucks and a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Craving orange chicken? Downtown Phoenix is getting its first Panda Express restaurant," 24 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of house


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for house

Noun and Verb

Middle English hous, from Old English hūs; akin to Old High German hūs house

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for house



English Language Learners Definition of house

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a building in which a family lives
: the people who live in a house
: a structure or shelter in which animals are kept



English Language Learners Definition of house (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide shelter or a living space for (someone)
: to be a shelter for (something) : to store or contain (something)
: to surround or enclose (something) in order to protect it


\ ˈhau̇s How to pronounce house (audio) \
plural houses\ ˈhau̇-​zəz \

Kids Definition of house

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a place built for people to live in
2 : something (as a nest or den) used by an animal for shelter
3 : a building in which something is kept a carriage house
4 : household entry 1 Her noise woke up the whole house.
5 : a body of persons assembled to make the laws for a country The United States Congress is made up of two houses.
6 : a business firm a publishing house
7 : the audience in a theater or concert hall
8 : family sense 2 the house of Windsor
on the house
: free of charge Dessert is on the house.


\ ˈhau̇z How to pronounce house (audio) \
housed; housing

Kids Definition of house (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to provide with living quarters or shelter
2 : contain sense 2 All three movies are housed in a single set.



Legal Definition of house

1a : a building (as a single or multiple family house, apartment, or hotel room) serving as living quarters and usually including the curtilage
b : a building (as one's residence or a locked place of business) in which one is entitled to protection (as from warrantless searches and seizures) under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
2a : a legislative assembly especially that constitutes a division of a bicameral body
b : the building or chamber where such an assembly meets
c : a quorum of such an assembly

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on house

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with house

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for house

Spanish Central: Translation of house

Nglish: Translation of house for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of house for Arabic Speakers

Comments on house

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


of or relating to the heavens

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!