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 On odd-numbered days, men can leave the house to seek out essentials. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "To Beat the Virus, Colombia Tries Separating Men and Women," 15 Apr. 2020 Please remember to put pants on before leaving the house to check your mailbox. Fox News, "Maryland police issue 'final warning' for resident getting mail without pants on amid coronavirus stay-at-home order," 15 Apr. 2020 There are plenty of accessories that can keep you feeling freshly coiffed without leaving the house, but navigating products like body trimmers and beard trimmers online can be difficult. NBC News, "The best hair and beard trimmer for men, according to experts," 15 Apr. 2020 As a family of two entrepreneurs and two children under the age four, being confined to the house has been an adjustment. Lindsey Tramuta, Condé Nast Traveler, "Life in Coronavirus Quarantine: Stories From Paris, Umbria, and Tel Aviv," 13 Apr. 2020 My parents decided to stay and have not left the house in more than a month. Silvia Martelli, STAT, "I’m studying in the U.S., my family is in Italy. Every day is filled with mutual, gut-wrenching worry," 12 Apr. 2020 For the first week after the election, Discko didn’t leave the house. Jordan Mcmahon, Wired, "The App That Wants You to Treat Self Care Like a Garden," 11 Apr. 2020 Heavy, patterned makeup and hair straight out of a JRPG are impractical for daily life, but all of us put on some kind of clothing to leave the house. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Some shirts hide you from cameras—but will anyone wear them?," 10 Apr. 2020 Two nursing homes in San Antonio have been designated as places to house and care for residents from any nursing homes in the region who contract the virus. Peggy O’hare,, "COVID-19 cases surge to 665 in San Antonio area; two more succumb, pushing death toll to 24," 10 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In all likelihood, the cases will keep climbing as more than half a million seasonal employees crowd onto buses to move among farms across the country and get housed together in cramped bunkhouse-style dormitories. Mike Dorning And Jen Skerritt, Houston Chronicle, "Every worker has covid at one US farm on eve of harvest," 29 May 2020 African-Americans are still the country’s poorest, poorest- housed and unhealthiest large group, with high incidences of asthma, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and obesity. The Economist, "Lexington The vulnerability of African Americans to the coronavirus is a national emergency," 28 May 2020 Since late March, Bean’s Café has had a contract with the city to feed and house up to 480 people experiencing homelessness at Sullivan and Ben Boeke. Paula Dobbyn, Anchorage Daily News, "Ben Boeke Ice Arena to close as mass shelter for homeless on June 1," 27 May 2020 People, housed or unhoused, need space to live without feeling under siege. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "A Window Onto an American Nightmare," 25 May 2020 Built in 1912, the Monroe building has housed various businesses over the years, from small shops to Parkway Theatre. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "After 20 years, 'it's the end of an era' for El Zocalo restaurant in downtown Chandler," 18 May 2020 There’s been an irony about the Venezuelan emigration that the government knows but doesn’t mention: those who leave send remittances in dollars and also reduce the numbers needing to be fed and housed. Patricia Laya,, "Maduro Embraces Capitalism and Venezuelan Emigres Are Returning," 11 May 2020 The latest idea making the rounds of the anti-Social Security caucus is to pay for coronavirus stimulus aid for the neediest Americans by forcing them to borrow from their future retirement benefits to keep themselves fed and housed today. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Republicans seek to exploit COVID-19 crisis to cut Social Security benefits," 11 May 2020 Wall Street lenders are among the largest tenants in the global commercial property industry, with many housed in large open-plan skyscrapers that rely heavily on elevators., "Google offers its software for free to keep up with Zoom," 29 Apr. 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.

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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

19 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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