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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The next phase would be development of 17 lots and the final phase would be 11 new houses. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester subdivision approved," 17 Sep. 2019 Firefighters responded to a house fire at 52 Sylvester St. at 8:30 a.m., Deputy Fire Chief Joe Marchetti said., "BROCKTON — Two Brockton firefighters were injured Monday morning while fighting a “stubborn” three-alarm blaze, fire officials said.," 17 Sep. 2019 Mortgage rates have fallen to near-record lows, and more houses are listed for sale. oregonlive, "Homebuyers may have an edge as sales flatten," 17 Sep. 2019 The in-house deal, which lasts five years, was valued at close to $500 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. Nick Turner, Fortune, "‘The Big Bang Theory’ Is Going to HBO Max as Streaming Services Battle Over Popular Sitcoms," 17 Sep. 2019 Skip Rouch, one of the four owners of the property, said his family will retain a quarter-acre plot of land with a small A-frame house on it. Peter Fimrite,, "Biggest private sequoia grove to be preserved in deal with Redwoods League," 17 Sep. 2019 The bank lends to everyone else, too—to people who build bowling alleys and beach houses and breweries. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns," 17 Sep. 2019 Once our house alarm was tripped twice in one night. Imani Perry, Time, "'I Will Not Allow That to Be Your Life.' A Mother's Letter to Her Black Sons on Growing Up in America," 17 Sep. 2019 The declining inventory is a stark contrast from the years following the recession when buyers had their pick of houses from short sales and foreclosures. Caroline Glenn,, "For the first time in 2019, inventory of homes for sale in Central Florida drops," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The decision has evoked strong feelings from blacks and others outraged the county would allow a Confederate statue to be housed in a county building and from backers of the plan who say foes just want to censor history. Jerry Fallstrom,, "Lake moves forward with Groveland Four monument, plans further displays of black history, civil rights," 16 Sep. 2019 Apprente’s employees will be the founding members of a group called McD Tech Labs, which will be housed within McDonald’s global technology team. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Saudi Aramco’s Long-Awaited IPO Might Actually Happen: Term Sheet," 11 Sep. 2019 The teen was first booked at the Lake County Jail and is currently housed in a juvenile facility, the sheriff's department statement said. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Florida teen accused of stealing parents' money to hire people to kill them," 11 Sep. 2019 Besides Uber Freight, which has been housed in Chicago, the office also employs people in the Uber Eats and Uber Ride businesses, such as sales staff, lawyers, marketing, and operational staff for Chicago and other Midwest markets. Ally Marotti,, "Uber plans to hire 2,000 more Chicago-area employees to fill its massive space at Old Post Office," 9 Sep. 2019 Because children were housed in ORR facilities for an uncertain amount of time, mental health professionals would focus on the current trauma of adapting to their new life rather than probing into past events. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Watchdog details psychological trauma among migrant children separated from families," 4 Sep. 2019 Even then, a defibrillator was not readily available on the floor where Lillis was housed, and a suction machine had not been stored with the tubing, leaving nurses to scramble to find the parts needed to use it, the lawsuit said. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "Arapahoe County pays $2.45 million to family of inmate who died in his cell after repeatedly asking for help," 4 Sep. 2019 That’s because the State Historic Preservation Office has been housed for the past few years within the Minnesota Department of Administration — the very office that has toyed with the idea of demolishing the building. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "University Avenue Ford Building could be demolished — or added to National Register of Historic Places," 21 Aug. 2019 The new premises are housed in the village’s old communal wine cellar (which dates back to 1902), and the large terrace seems to float over the Mirna Valley. Mary Winston Nicklin, Condé Nast Traveler, "Istria Has All the Beauty of the Mediterranean and None of Croatia's Crowds," 16 Aug. 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.

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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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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

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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

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a calculated move

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