library

noun

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 How to pronounce library (audio)
 nonstandard  -ˌber-ē,
nonstandard
-ˌbe-rē How to pronounce library (audio)
plural libraries
1
a
: 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
2
a
: a collection resembling or suggesting a library
an illustrations library
3
a
: 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
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
Recent Examples on the Web These centers are often libraries, churches, senior centers or community centers. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 12 July 2024 The industry was enjoying a pandemic lockdown-era gold rush in streaming stocks and CEO Bob Bakish needed to build up a content library sizeable enough for its Paramount+ service to take on Netflix and Disney. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 11 July 2024 Thursday, July 11 Summer Movies on the Lawn at the Library of Congress The Library of Congress’s annual outdoor movie screening series begins July 11, with film fans gathering every Thursday on the southeast lawn of the library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 11 July 2024 The program is offered at more than 50 sites including parks, museums, libraries, and historical sites. Joe Rassel, Orlando Sentinel, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for library 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'library.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near library

Cite this Entry

“Library.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/library. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

library

noun
li·​brary ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē How to pronounce library (audio)
plural libraries
1
a
: a place where books, magazines, and records are kept for use but not for sale
b
: a collection of books, magazines, or records
2
: a collection resembling or suggesting a library
a library of computer programs
Etymology

Middle English library, librarie "a place where books are kept," from Latin librarium (same meaning), from earlier librarius "of books," from liber "book" — related to libel see Word History at libel

Medical Definition

library

noun
li·​brary ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē How to pronounce library (audio)
plural libraries
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on library

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