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 The house currently is under contract, which means that a deal has been struck with a buyer, but that deal has not yet closed. Bob Goldsborough,, "Retiring Blackhawk Andrew Shaw lists Lakeview home for $1.7M," 27 Apr. 2021 The house was near the stables where Dani could train. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Answers to cowboy's mysterious death lay inside toolbox found on ex-wife's property," 24 Apr. 2021 The two-story house at 197 School St. is temporarily unlivable, said Daniel A. French, assistant chief of Manchester-Fire-Rescue-EMS. Christine Dempsey,, "Five displaced by Manchester fire," 23 Apr. 2021 Because of the pandemic, the house was closed, but the trails wending their way across the 250-acre estate remained open. Washington Post, "The Hudson Valley’s outdoor art parks make for an alluring pandemic destination," 23 Apr. 2021 Masks will be required and the house will not be open for tours at this time. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "A little humor can go a long way: Whit & Whimsey," 23 Apr. 2021 Nelson said the house is a total loss, and the cause of the one-alarm fire is under investigation., "Four people escape fire that destroyed Milford home," 20 Apr. 2021 The house was empty at the time but family members of a national minister and two deputy ministers had to be evacuated from their homes nearby. Gerald Imray, USA TODAY, "Cape Town wildfire: About 90% of blaze on Table Mountain now contained," 20 Apr. 2021 Areas around Hyde Park will see between 100 to 150 and up to 200 cicadas per square yard, depending on how old the house is and how many trees there are in the yard. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "'They'll be screaming': See where in Cincinnati the Brood X cicadas will be out in force," 19 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Because churches have been shut down as part of COVID-19 protocols, the organization has had to house the homeless in local motels, greatly increasing their expenses since June 2020. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "100+ Women Who Care Medina selects Operation Homes for April funding," 18 Apr. 2021 Until last month, Samsung wanted to house the S Pen in the foldable phone, just like the Note. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Galaxy Z Fold 3 might not come with a built-in S Pen stylus," 15 Apr. 2021 There’s new work for Ogar too, who has been busy building galleries and museums in which artists and collectors can house their collections. Sophie Haigney, Curbed, "Does the Metaverse Need a Zoning Board?," 15 Apr. 2021 The Washington Examiner reported late Tuesday that HHS awarded a $530 million contract to house unaccompanied migrant children in Pecos, Texas, after they are initially intercepted by the Border Patrol. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Ron Johnson launches investigation into $600M worth of no-bid contracts given to group with Biden ties," 14 Apr. 2021 The president has received criticism for extending former President Donald Trump's policy to house unaccompanied migrant children in what some view as close quarters, USA TODAY reported. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact check: More money spent on housing National Guard in DC than shelter for migrants," 13 Apr. 2021 The Biden administration is spending at least $60 million per week to house the more than 16,000 migrant minors in its care, according to a report. Jack Durschlag, Fox News, "Biden on Second Amendment gun rights: 'No amendment is absolute'," 9 Apr. 2021 Yet the Office of Refugee Resettlement currently lacks capacity to house all the children in need of shelter, in part because many of their facilities were dismantled under the Trump administration. Randi Mandelbaum, The Conversation, "The situation at the US-Mexico border is a crisis – but is it new?," 2 Apr. 2021 The group is building a WOCA Museum, which will house a collection of the best in women’s crypto art. Marris Adikwu, Vogue, "How Women Are Carving Out a Space of Their Own in the NFT Market," 30 Mar. 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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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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