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

What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "Blockbuster video stores closing in Alaska, leaving chain with 1 location in US," 13 July 2018 The studio aims to have a mix of original and exclusive movies and television series along with its vast library. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Willem Dafoe to Star in Disney Adventure Movie 'Togo' (Exclusive)," 12 July 2018 Netflix’s reliance on documentaries to beef up its library of original content may have helped spur the genre to new relevance. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What’s Driving Documentaries to Box-Office Success?," 11 July 2018 The Marvel Comics legend co-founded POW! in 2001 as a holding company of sorts for his library of intellectual property. Anita Bennett, Fortune, "Stan Lee Drops $1 Billion Fraud Lawsuit Against POW! Entertainment," 9 July 2018 But for now, click through the slideshow to see some of our favorite selections from the next essential addition to your fashion library., "What Happens When A Designer, Photographer, & Editor Collide? This Book," 25 June 2018 Back in 2004, some college kids wanted to steal rare books from their school’s library. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Review: College kids plot a heist in ‘American Animals’," 21 June 2018 De Paula has a background in art, which has informed her ethereal designs as well as her library of botanical illustrations. Ivette Manners, Vogue, "This Bridal Designer Is Setting a New Trend for Hidden Messages and Symbols on Her Gowns," 15 May 2018 Flos Alessi also re-introduced three classic pieces and Zanotta added two reissues to its extensive Castiglioni library, along with two pieces by Carlo Mollino, another 20th-century titan whose Reale table brought $3.5 million at auction in 2005. Arlene Hirst, Curbed, "At Milan Design Week this year, nostalgia was in," 2 May 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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Phrases Related to library

mobile library

reference library

Statistics for library

Last Updated

2 Sep 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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