li·​brary | \ ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē How to pronounce library (audio) , -ˌbre-rē; British usually and US sometimes -brə-rē; British often and US sometimes -brē, nonstandard -ˌber-ē, nonstandard -ˌbe-rē How to pronounce library (audio) \
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

Moreover, these libraries collectively include a tiny fraction of the more than 10^30 theoretically possible molecules. Irving Wladawsky-berger, WSJ, "AI for Molecular Design," 30 Apr. 2019 District officials say, though, that legislative action could restore some of the cuts, which include those made to library staff and central office employees. Dahlia Bazzaz, The Seattle Times, "As Seattle school district displaces teachers, educators of color worry about relationships with students," 1 Apr. 2019 Think MeetUp groups, library clubs, city events, and so on, Bahar says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "How to Deal With Loneliness and Feelings of Isolation," 11 Jan. 2019 Comcast, Fox, Disney and WarnerMedia currently account for about 20 percent of Netflix’s content library, according to data from TV industry research company Ampere Analysis. Rani Molla, Recode, "Here’s what happens when the big media companies take their content off Netflix," 5 Dec. 2018 In New York City’s most cutthroat competition, a group of elite library sorters compete to see who can process books the fastest. Constance Grady, Vox, "Elite library sorters race to process books in cutthroat competition," 17 Nov. 2018 At a library board meeting last week, opponents appeared to outnumber supporters. Fox News, "Library moves 'Drag Queen Story Time' to bigger venue," 28 Sep. 2018 An awful lot of stuff in that library is closed—for national security reasons, or for embarrassment to some liberal person or something. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "Historian Robert Caro on the Importance of Analog Research in a Digital Age," 15 Apr. 2019 At the presentation, Mr. Galluzzi said preparations for the exhibit had led to the rediscovery of 70 photographic plates taken of the Codex, which had been in the archives of the Italian national library in Rome. John Hooper, WSJ, "Exhibits Mark 500 Years of Leonardo da Vinci, the Original Renaissance Man," 31 Oct. 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

13 May 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 How to pronounce library (audio) \
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 How to pronounce library (audio) \
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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