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 2)

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 often used in capitalized form as the shortened name of a specific house The bill passed in both the House and the Senate. MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Government's Brexit Bill in the House of Commons. … The House voted in favour of the bill by 498 to 114 … — Chloe Chaplain
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 2)

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The suspect was gone by the time officers arrived at the house. Matt Bruce, ajc, 30 July 2022 Rock star Lee, meanwhile, wore a plethora of thongs around the house, so Lennox turned to eBay to procure vintage cheetah prints, silk and satin ones in an array of colors to dress her leading man. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 29 July 2022 Police determined that nothing criminal had occurred at the house, but towed the truck because the boyfriend had no driver’s license. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 29 July 2022 Kate said her parents will watch the games at her house and even attend a Bengals preseason game or two every year. Mike Bass, The Enquirer, 28 July 2022 Megan Kau, a lawyer for Morrison, told The Associated Press that the couple posed in the uniform at a friend's house as a joke. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 28 July 2022 Investing in smart home devices can certainly make life around the house easier, but the cost of each individual device can quickly add up. Olivia Lipski, Good Housekeeping, 25 July 2022 The brothers had invited me to set up shop in their spare bedroom, on the premise that almost all their important work was done around the house. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, 25 July 2022 Bridesmaids ran around the house completing different tasks before the bride arrived. Sofia Krusmark, The Arizona Republic, 25 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The new development includes plans for a separate 50,000-square-foot off-site storage space to house additional collections. Tom Daykin, Journal Sentinel, 2 Aug. 2022 Advocates say the county has not invested enough in planning or infrastructure to house the region’s farmworkers — many of whom are undocumented and are hesitant to speak up about poor housing conditions. New York Times, 31 July 2022 Local and international Jewish organizations also wasted no time in trying to meet the most urgent needs: to house and feed the Ukrainians, most of whom are women and children. Vanessa Gera,, 30 July 2022 These are almost certainly M577 command post carriers, a 1970s-era armored vehicle designed to house an army unit’s leadership and staff. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 29 July 2022 Apartments would be built to house up to 10 developmentally disabled adults and provide respite care for as many as four adults. Beth Mlady, cleveland, 29 July 2022 The expansion and upgrade at Station No. 3 would allow the station to house six personnel on a daily basis. Mike Jones, Arkansas Online, 27 July 2022 This means it isn't compromised by having to try and shoehorn electric motors and copious wiring into spaces originally designed to house internal combustion machinery. Jeremy White, Wired, 26 July 2022 Recently, the Elmhurst Park District Board of Commissioners agreed to house the program in Centennial Recreation Center. Graydon Megan, Chicago Tribune, 21 July 2022 See More

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.

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

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for house


\ 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

House biographical name

\ ˈhau̇s How to pronounce House (audio) \

Definition of House

Edward Mandell 1858–1938 Colonel House American diplomat

More from Merriam-Webster on house

Nglish: Translation of house for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of house for Arabic Speakers


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