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

b : morgue sense 2

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


assemblage, collection

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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

Boyce’s draft budget for next year includes hiring more police officers and bringing back Sunday library hours. Christina Maxouris, ajc, "A full house for Cobb chairman’s final tax town hall," 11 July 2018 For information on library programming, visit Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "5 things to do this week in the western suburbs," 10 July 2018 Museums, libraries and attractions Crown Hill Cemetery True Hoosiers know the best birds-eye view of Downtown Indy comes from the top of Strawberry Hill at Crown Hill Cemetery. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 This service is Amazon’s $120-a-year club that offers free two-day shipping on orders, as well as a litany of frills like free premium video and music streaming, free online photo storage, a Kindle lending library, and various promotional offers. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Amazon Prime Day 2018: Everything you need to know about Amazon's shopping extravaganza," 2 July 2018 Project manager Haviland Argo said the farm plans to hire a bourbon expert, similar to a sommelier, who can stock the library and lead tastings. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "21c owners hope to save historic horse farm by luring bourbon tourists," 25 June 2018 The benefit will be offset in part by payments from Cordish in lieu of taxes to Kansas City Public Schools, libraries and mental health programs — all of which depend on property tax revenue. Bill Turque, kansascity, "With misgivings, KC Council approves tax breaks for Three Light," 21 June 2018 The venue will also feature lecture spaces, a small library, and areas for workshops in photography, biology, and more. Veronica Stoddart, Condé Nast Traveler, "New Expedition Ships: Small but Mighty Appealing," 14 June 2018 In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Mansfield Public Library, 54 Warrenville Road, Mansfield, CT 06250, where Jeralyn's passion for reading and libraries will live on., "Jeralyn Boccuzzi," 13 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

11 Nov 2018

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).


full of whispering sounds

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