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


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.


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

My service to Planned Parenthood has left my family with upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees, relocation costs, and even expenses to remove the security equipment that PPFA installed in my house. Fox News, "Planned Parenthood ex-CEO writes letter to board amid severance dispute," 17 Sep. 2019 Lewis comes slowly out of his house in the shadow of the earthen dike that contains the salty waters of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. Kenneth E. Hartman, Harper's magazine, "Life after Life," 16 Sep. 2019 In 2017, Brown allegedly invited an artist to his Pittsburgh home to paint a mural on a wall in his house. Michael Mccann,, "The Legal Impact of the Newest Accusations Against Antonio Brown," 16 Sep. 2019 But both events have a lot in common, including many of its haunted houses. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Want your Halloween horror-filled or Not-So-Scary? Pick your poison at Disney or Universal," 16 Sep. 2019 The woman heard the glass shatter and the car horn go off and ran back inside her house. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man charged with attempted murder after shooting acquaintance in back of the head, charges say," 13 Sep. 2019 They had been evicted from their house, and their car was stolen. Paul Tough, The Atlantic, "The Myth of the Wealthy Welder," 13 Sep. 2019 Demi Moore turns up on the doorstep of my rental house in Wales in late July bearing gifts. Lena Dunham, Harper's BAZAAR, "Demi Moore Reveals All," 12 Sep. 2019 Homeowners are likely concerned about big problems like their roof caving in or their house losing power, but there are some smaller issues that people need to be aware of, too. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Experts Just Issued a Serious Warning Following the Farmers’ Almanac Winter Forecast," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

University Heights is now in the second year of a two-year agreement signed in 2017 for the Solon jail to house its prisoners., "University Heights council agrees to buy a house, wait to buy new city entrance signs," 17 Sep. 2019 Cohen told the protesters gathered at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a prison facility used to temporarily house immigration detainees. Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, "Family separation and refugee cap reinvigorate Jews’ activist roots: ‘We’ve always been immigrants’," 17 Sep. 2019 New York’s homeless population increased, but that could be because the city stepped up efforts to house the homeless and thus converted hard-to-count people living on the streets into easier-to-count folks in shelter programs. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, "The surprising holes in our knowledge of America’s homeless population," 17 Sep. 2019 Built in the 1970s to house Boho adventurers, the hotel is a collection of stone buildings and grottos. Vogue, "How Ed Droste Spent Two Wild Weeks in Peru," 14 Sep. 2019 One Court Square, a towering office building known as the Citibank building, was initially going to house Amazon employees beginning this year. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Long Island City tries to move on after Amazon HQ2 debacle," 14 Sep. 2019 To be sure, the short-term rentals will be needed to house some of the 50,000 people who will come to the city for the convention July 13 to 16, 2020. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukeeans are trying to get a big payday during the 2020 DNC by renting their properties," 10 Sep. 2019 Both reports were based on inspections of 45 HHS shelters, including the two massive emergency shelters opened in Homestead, Florida, and Tornillo, Texas, that were used to house the influx of children entering the system last year. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "Government watchdog: Separated migrant children suffered PTSD, other mental trauma," 4 Sep. 2019 There's a feat truly worth celebrating out of Abilene, Texas: The city has become the first in Texas to house all of its homeless veterans. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "This Texas City Is the First to House All Its Homeless Veterans," 3 Sep. 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



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with house

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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