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 In need of a front-of-house foundation shrub or year-round evergreen privacy? oregonlive, "How to choose and grow camellias, the queen of winter flowers, in Oregon," 26 Feb. 2021 There’s also a swimming pool with an outdoor shower on the front side of the house. cleveland, "Lakeside home offers vacation vibes year-round in Portage Lakes: House of the Week," 26 Feb. 2021 The builders had to dig into the stone on the property to make the layout of the house feasible, which Cole said was unique. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, "Take a look at a new six-bedroom, four-level home in North Oak Cliff’s Kessler Park neighborhood," 25 Feb. 2021 To navigate the main portion of the house, the couple spent $52,000 on an elevator—an upgrade, jokes Ms. Parsons, of the previous home’s dumbwaiter. J. S. Marcus, WSJ, "An Australian Couple Demolished Their Home to Build a Retirement Retreat," 24 Feb. 2021 Is John playing some insane con on his wife to turn her children and the world against her, or is Josephine a hateful woman who drove her frail husband out of the house with her hectoring? Brian Moylan, Vulture, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Dumb and Dumberererererer," 24 Feb. 2021 The blaze apparently caused a collapse of much of the house, in the 2600 block of 31st Street NW, the fire department said. Washington Post, "Huge blaze collapses big house in Northwest Washington, officials say," 24 Feb. 2021 On the investing side of the house, there are analysts, associates, senior associates, principals, partners, and general partners. Elizabeth Edwards, Forbes, "Check Your Stats: The Lack Of Diversity In Venture Capital Is Worse Than It Looks," 24 Feb. 2021 The actual transporting of the house from Franklin to Fulton started at around 7:17 a.m. and took approximately an hour, the outlet noted. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This 139-Year-Old Victorian Home Was Moved Through the Streets of San Francisco to a New Address," 23 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The hotel is highlighting its completely private residences, which can house a total of 12 people across four bedrooms at once with its new offering, Exclusively Malliouhana. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Escape to a Luxurious 4-bedroom Private Residence at This Stunning Resort in Anguilla," 30 Jan. 2021 Such statements are troublesome for the Defense Department, which is widely believed to house nuclear weapons at Incirlik and more recently has relied on the base for operations targeting the Islamic State in Syria. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "US expands military presence in Greece amid speculation of Turkish withdrawal," 30 Sep. 2020 ThedaCare, which throughout the pandemic has been able to house all coronavirus patients at its Appleton hospital, is now making plans to route patients to Neenah and its critical access hospitals in Berlin, Shawano and Waupaca. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State reports nearly 22% positive coronavirus tests as outbreak in northeast Wisconsin worsens," 28 Sep. 2020 If the skilled nursing units are approved, the facility could house up to 200 people, Dunn said. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "New $60 million assisted-living project in South Anchorage could add scarce nursing beds," 7 Feb. 2021 Shopping malls, which house many theaters, have fallen out of favor. New York Times, "Can a Brash Executive in Kansas Save Movie Theaters?," 22 Jan. 2021 This gem of a handbag is super sleek and compact, but can easily house my seven on-the-go necessities: wallet, cellphone, keys, lip balm, airpods, hand sanitizer, and hand cream. Chelsea Hall, Marie Claire, "What I Wear on Repeat: My Chanel Boy Bag," 20 Jan. 2021 In 2017, Independent Bank said its new headquarters in Craig Ranch north of State Highway 121 would eventually house more than 1,000 workers. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "McKinney financial firm more than doubling headquarters with new construction," 19 Jan. 2021 The vast majority of those facilities, more than 90%, are assisted living facilities, which typically house elderly people who can no longer care for themselves. Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times, "They’re the most likely to die from COVID-19, but hardly any have been vaccinated," 15 Jan. 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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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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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