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 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 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 For as lovely as Helen's house is, the retirement community is pretty nice and full of active and social seniors. Lindsey Bahr, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 If your data house isn’t in order now, the clock is ticking. Daniel Heer, Forbes, 11 June 2021 In order to safely make required repairs, the landfill scale house was only able to accept cash for transactions during part of Wednesday morning, according to a county news release. Madison Bateman,, 9 June 2021 List on Sunday, and your house is liable to sell more quickly. Amber Randall,, 9 June 2021 The house is about a mile from the settlement outpost of Givat Ronen. Raja Shehadeh, The New Yorker, 8 June 2021 The house is a classic Grosse Pointe grand home in excellent condition, little changed from its original form. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, 6 June 2021 And if the front yard is bad, how will the house be? Stephen Collinson, CNN, 6 June 2021 The house was in bad condition before it was repaired., 5 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb House of Tulip in New Orleans is renovating a multifamily home in hopes of creating a pilot program to house 10 transgender people facing housing insecurity. NBC News, 11 June 2021 Last Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to hold multiple forums on homelessness within 120 days — in English and Mandarin — and to create a citizen’s committee to investigate ways to house people who are unsheltered. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 The number of women housed at Edna Mahan, a sprawling facility in Hunterdon County that first opened in 1913 and can house more than 700 people, has been declining, tracking a nationwide trend. New York Times, 7 June 2021 Baltimore will continue housing about 500 homeless residents in hotel rooms through September, extending its emergency contracts while the city explores purchasing a hotel to house people long-term. Phil Davis,, 20 May 2021 Austin is now working to house 3,000 people over the next three years. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 May 2021 Many residents were angry that the Assembly approved a proposal to put federal aid money toward buying buildings to house homeless people and provide drug treatment. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, 19 May 2021 Fudge, a former Warrensville Heights mayor and member of Congress, said the vouchers will help house 130,000 people who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 17 May 2021 The Welcome Center, which acts as a centralized shelter facility in Phoenix and can house up to 150 people each night, began receiving single adults on Thursday, Prescott said. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, 13 May 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

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“House.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 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

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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