li·​brary | \ ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē, -ˌbre-rē; British usually and US sometimes -brə-rē; British often and US sometimes -brē, nonstandard -ˌber-ē, nonstandard -ˌbe-rē \
plural libraries

Definition of library

1a : a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (such as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale
b : a collection of such materials a library of jazz recordings
2a : a collection resembling or suggesting a library an illustrations library
3a : a series of related books issued by a publisher a Dickens library
b : a collection of publications on the same subject
4 : a collection of cloned DNA fragments that are maintained in a suitable cellular environment and that usually represent the genetic material of a particular organism or tissue

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Synonyms for library



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How do you pronounce library?: Usage Guide

While the pronunciation \ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē\ is the most frequent variant in the U.S., the other variants are not uncommon. The contraction \ˈlī-brē\ and the dissimilated form \ˈlī-ˌber-ē\ result from the relative difficulty of repeating \r\ in the same syllable or successive syllables; our files contain citations for these variants from educated speakers, including college presidents and professors, as well as with somewhat greater frequency from less educated speakers.

Examples of library in a Sentence

I borrowed the book from the school library. He has an impressive library of jazz records. a library of computer programs
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Recent Examples on the Web

Apple Music subscribers can ask Alexa to play songs from their personal playlists, the entire Apple Music library, or the service’s curated playlists and radio stations. Dami Lee, The Verge, "Apple Music support hits Amazon Echo speakers," 14 Dec. 2018 Those assets include the Fox’s Hollywood studios, content library, cable channels, international networks, and a 39-percent stake in Sky. Bob Fernandez,, "Comcast boosts Sky bid to $34M, topping Fox offer in global standoff," 11 July 2018 The Dipsea library is an erotica-lover’s dream, categorized by moods and scenarios and tastefully curated according to common fantasies. Jessie Militare, Marie Claire, "The Future of Women-Friendly Erotica Is Audio Porn, According to This App," 26 Dec. 2018 Books and Bikinis Studying in the library isn't Elle Woods' style: Grande-as-Elle brushes up on her studies outside in a bikini and a feathered jacket. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Every Single Movie Reference in Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Music Video," 30 Nov. 2018 Fascinating, as someone who had been in college and applied for a grant to go look at a book that was sitting in a library in Madrid, waited eight months for all that to go through. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Google’s former PR boss Jessica Powell wrote a satirical novel about tech and published it all on Medium," 2 Oct. 2018 Someone had left a note: Your beds are in the library. Ellen Freeman, Curbed, "I lived in a Tokyo coworking space," 28 Sep. 2018 For two hours each Monday and Wednesday night plus occasional Saturdays, teachers and peers helped struggling students at Nighthawk tutoring sessions in the library. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Del Norte High math students meet challenge," 5 July 2018 Go hiking after work, or camp out on the other side of the lake, or just read a book in the local library. Blair Braverman, Outside Online, "How to Plan an Outdoor Wedding (and Not Hate Everyone)," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'library.' 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 library

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for library

Middle English, from Anglo-French librarie, Medieval Latin librarium, from Latin, neuter of librarius of books, from libr-, liber inner bark, rind, book

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Statistics for library

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for library

The first known use of library was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for library



English Language Learners Definition of library

: a place where books, magazines, and other materials (such as videos and musical recordings) are available for people to use or borrow

: a room in a person's house where books are kept

: a collection of similar things (such as books or recordings)


li·​brary | \ ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē \
plural libraries

Kids Definition of library

1 : a place where literary or reference materials (as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but are not for sale
2 : a collection of literary or reference materials They have a large personal library.


li·​brary | \ ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē \
plural libraries

Medical Definition of library

: a collection of cloned DNA fragments that are maintained in a suitable cellular environment and that represent the genetic material of a particular organism or tissue inserting segments from a library of human DNA into yeast cellsScience News

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Comments on library

What made you want to look up library? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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