noun, often attributive
\ ˈhau̇s How to pronounce house (audio) \
plural houses\ ˈhau̇-​zəz How to pronounce house (audio) also  -​səz How to pronounce house (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 Save room for a soufflé, the century-long house specialty …— Thomas P. Farley a house cocktail [=a cocktail whose recipe was created by the bar, restaurant, etc. at which it is served]
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

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Other Words from house


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

Examples of house in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Toward that end, the office will be taking the equipment and its in-house ballots to Washington Township High School for elections for prom court and plans to hit the rest of the county’s high schools in the fall for similar events. Amy Lavalley,, "Former candidates facing $1,000 fines for not filing campaign reports in Porter County," 15 Apr. 2021 Courtesy of Amazon Amazon’s in-house brand, Amazon Basics, comes through again with this quality fan for an affordable price. Bridget Degnan, Southern Living, "The 10 Best Cooling Fans for Every Room in Your Home," 15 Apr. 2021 To this day, original Liberty fabric designs are drawn or painted by hand at the company's in-house design studio and printed in Como, Italy. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Liberty Prints Are Over 100 Years Old: Here's Why We Still Love Them Today," 14 Apr. 2021 But my position is contract, which everywhere else in the country is considered in-house. Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone, "How to Mix Sound for Masked Singers and Empty Arenas," 14 Apr. 2021 There are few promising in-house options; the Ravens’ depth falls off considerably after their starting tackles: Andre Smith? Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens draft preview: Why a highly rated ILB, blocking TE and versatile RB could be surprise picks," 14 Apr. 2021 That does not include any in-house cost to the attorney general's office to simply devote hours to defend the state. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana lawmakers add step for minors seeking abortion. Some worry it violates privacy.," 14 Apr. 2021 Underscoring the fact that people in this town seem to be on top of each other’s business, Mare’s ex-husband, Frank (David Denman) and his fiancée live in a house directly in back of Mare’s home. oregonlive, "‘Mare of Easttown’: Kate Winslet leads a strong cast in HBO’s gripping crime drama," 13 Apr. 2021 The agency structure is simple – a content pillar built around MediaMonks, and a programmatic and data pillar built around MightyHive, and the ability to assist in-house teams when needed. Avi Dan, Forbes, "How Sir Martin Sorrell Hijacked The Radical Revolution In Advertising," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Samsung will likely provide a case with a slot that can house the S Pen, the report notes. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Galaxy Z Fold 3 might not come with a built-in S Pen stylus," 15 Apr. 2021 The commission voted 6-0 April 13 to declare the now vacant 200-plus acre site at U.S. 30 and Whitcomb Street that will house the project an economic development area. Karen Caffarini,, "Merrillville designation aids planned $120M mixed housing development," 15 Apr. 2021 The sale includes the lease to the restaurant’s cavernous space, which will house three new concepts from its new owners this fall. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "Why Del Posto’s New Owners Are Closing the Acclaimed NYC Restaurant for Good," 13 Apr. 2021 In Loudoun and Prince William counties, a sharp increase in Internet usage by homebound residents has led to a dramatic jump in construction of data centers that house the computers that create the Web. Washington Post, "Silver lining: Pandemic triggers booms in D.C. region’s biotech, data center industries," 12 Apr. 2021 The facility, which would house both the public museum and Betty Brinn Children's Museum, is to be built east of North Sixth Street, between West McKinley Avenue and West Vliet Street. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Public Museum's proposed new home could get a $150,000 state grant to help fund its site preparation work.," 12 Apr. 2021 Officials have yet to announce which institutions will ultimately house the artifacts. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Trove of Treasures, From Gold Skull Ring to Tudor Coins, Unearthed in Wales," 12 Apr. 2021 The building will be L-shaped, with a one-story section running parallel to Washington Street that will house the offices and community room and a four-story housing unit sitting perpendicular to the street. Holly V. Hays, The Indianapolis Star, "Horizon House's supportive housing project, Compass on Washington, greenlit," 12 Apr. 2021 Vanguard Builders will work with Eric Maksym with Starter Homes of Texas, to construct the three duplexes that will house four youth. Chron, "HomeAid partners with Vanguard Builders on Angel Reach duplexes," 10 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for house

Time Traveler

The first known use of house was before the 12th century

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Statistics for house

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on house

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for house

Nglish: Translation of house for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of house for Arabic Speakers

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