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

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While responders with the Altamahaw-Ossipee Fire Department were on the way to the house, they were notified that one person was stuck inside, according to a statement posted to the department's Facebook page. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "A paramedic responded to a fire at his own home and learned his daughter was trapped inside," 6 Feb. 2020 He's also been known to sneak away to the neighbor's house and steal balls out of their garage. Georgie Silvarole, USA TODAY, "This dog can fit 6 tennis balls in his mouth, more than Guinness World Record holder," 5 Feb. 2020 As public health officials around the world work to prevent person-to-person transmission of this new contagion, authorities in China are wrapping up construction on a 645,000-square-foot hospital to house 1,000 of Wuhan’s sickest people. Popular Science, "Wuhan’s new hospitals are sorely needed, but they won’t stop the spread of disease," 4 Feb. 2020 Officers were called to the house in the 800 block of Royal George Lane around 1:15 a.m. for reports of a person down, authorities told media. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Ex-husband found shot outside woman’s new home in southwest Houston," 3 Feb. 2020 More Private Properties The property includes two guesthouses; one is attached to the main house and is used as a television room and gym, while the other is a freestanding cottage. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "The Land Under This $35 Million L.A. Property Could Be More Valuable Than The House Itself," 3 Feb. 2020 In the flashback, Antalia prepares to leave her new home with Ade and instructs her daughter to trust whoever returns to the house with her brother. Ariana Romero,, "Let’s Unravel Luna Nera‘s Chosen One Finale Twist," 3 Feb. 2020 In the video, Casey, Al Barr, James Lynch, Tim Brennan and Jeff DaRosa take to a house with sledgehammers, baseball bats and pickaxes before Casey jumps behind the controls of a backhoe and rips the place down. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Dropkick Murphys Bring Down the House in New 'Smash Sh*t Up' Video," 31 Jan. 2020 The old Microsoft Edge was a completely in-house Microsoft design, proprietary from the ground up. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Browser review: Microsoft’s new “Edgium” Chromium-based Edge," 30 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The evacuees are housed at an on-base hotel but in separate areas. Lauren Caruba,, "State hospital in San Antonio begins treating coronavirus evacuees from Lackland," 19 Feb. 2020 The Diamond Princess passengers will be housed at Travis Air Force Base in California or Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas and kept separate from the previous evacuees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anchorage Daily News, "As U.S. plans evacuations for American travelers on cruise ship in Japan, a passenger from another ship turns up with coronavirus," 16 Feb. 2020 This is not a drill! The pop-up shop is housed inside the walls of Beekman 1802 Mercantile in Sharon Spring, N.Y. Joseph Neese, House Beautiful, "Attention 'Schitt’s Creek' Fans: You Can Shop at an Actual Rose Apothecary," 16 Feb. 2020 The hotel is housed in a 1984 building previously owned by the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, occupied by low-income seniors. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Ohio State-themed Graduate Hotel among several new places to stay in Columbus," 16 Feb. 2020 The repatriated cruise-ship goers will be housed separately from others already in quarantine at both bases. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Americans trapped on cruise ship with coronavirus get to go home," 15 Feb. 2020 He is currently being housed at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center while this trial is underway. Fox News, "Michael Avenatti jury deliberations begin in Nike case," 13 Feb. 2020 The school is temporarily housed in El Cerrito while its 42nd and Roosevelt Avenue campus is rebuilt, according to the district. Anna Bauman,, "East Bay school district names elementary school after Michelle Obama," 13 Feb. 2020 The collection has been housed at the Union College library for the past 30 years. USA TODAY, "Show choir, Haiku Stairs, Teton bighorns: News from around our 50 states," 13 Feb. 2020

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

Learn More about house

Time Traveler for house

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for house

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for house


How to pronounce House (audio)

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


How to pronounce House (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for house

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!