definition of house by The Free Dictionary



n. pl. hous·es (hou′zĭz, -sĭz)


a. A structure serving as a dwelling for one or more persons, especially for a family.

b. A household or family.

2. Something, such as a burrow or shell, that serves as a shelter or habitation for a wild animal.

3. A dwelling for a group of people, such as students or members of a religious community, who live together as a unit: a sorority house.


a. A building that functions as the primary shelter or location of something: a carriage house; the lion house at the zoo.

b. A building devoted to a particular activity: a customs house; a house of worship.


a. A facility, such as a theater or restaurant, that provides entertainment or food for the public: a movie house; the specialty of the house.

b. The seating area in such an establishment: dimmed the lights in the house to signal the start of the show.

c. The audience or patrons of such an establishment: a full house.


a. A commercial firm: a brokerage house.

b. A publishing company: a house that specializes in cookbooks.

c. A gambling casino.

d. Slang A house of prostitution.

7. A residential college within a university.


a. often House A legislative or deliberative assembly.

b. The hall or chamber in which such an assembly meets.

c. A quorum of such an assembly.

9. often House A family line including ancestors and descendants, especially a royal or noble family: the House of Orange.


a. One of the 12 parts into which the heavens are divided in astrology.

b. The sign of the zodiac indicating the seat or station of a planet in the heavens. Also called mansion.

11. House music.

v. (houz) housed, hous·ing, hous·es

v. tr.

1. To provide living quarters for; lodge: The cottage housed ten students.

2. To shelter, keep, or store in a house or other structure: a library housing rare books.

3. To fit (something) into a socket or mortise.

4. Nautical To secure or stow safely.

v. intr.

1. To reside; dwell.

2. To take shelter.


like a house on fire (or afire) Informal

In an extremely speedy manner: ran away like a house on fire; tickets that sold like a house afire.

on the house

At the expense of the establishment; free: food and drinks on the house.

put (or set) (one’s) house in order

To organize one’s affairs in a sensible, logical way.

[Middle English hous, from Old English hūs.]


n, pl houses (ˈhaʊzɪz)


a. a building used as a home; dwelling

b. (as modifier): house dog.

2. the people present in a house, esp its usual occupants


a. a building used for some specific purpose

b. (in combination): a schoolhouse.

4. (Historical Terms) (often capital) a family line including ancestors and relatives, esp a noble one: the House of York.

5. (Commerce)

a. a commercial company; firm: a publishing house.

b. (as modifier): house style; a house journal.

6. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) an official deliberative or legislative body, such as one chamber of a bicameral legislature

7. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a quorum in such a body (esp in the phrase make a house)

8. (Ecclesiastical Terms) a dwelling for a religious community

9. (Astrology) astrology any of the 12 divisions of the zodiac. See also planet3
10. (Education)

a. any of several divisions, esp residential, of a large school

b. (as modifier): house spirit.

11. (Commerce)

a. a hotel, restaurant, bar, inn, club, etc, or the management of such an establishment

b. (as modifier): house rules.

c. (in combination): steakhouse.

12. (modifier) (of wine) sold unnamed by a restaurant, at a lower price than wines specified on the wine list: the house red.

13. (Theatre) the audience in a theatre or cinema

15. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a hall in which an official deliberative or legislative body meets

17. (Curling) curling the 12-foot target circle around the tee

18. (Nautical Terms) nautical any structure or shelter on the weather deck of a vessel

19. (Theatre) bring the house down theatre to win great applause

20. house and home an emphatic form of home

21. keep open house to be always ready to provide hospitality

22. like a house on fire informal very well, quickly, or intensely

23. on the house (usually of drinks) paid for by the management of the hotel, bar, etc

24. put one’s house in order to settle or organize one’s affairs

25. safe as houses Brit very secure


26. (tr) to provide with or serve as accommodation

27. to give or receive shelter or lodging

28. (tr) to contain or cover, esp in order to protect

29. (Building) (tr) to fit (a piece of wood) into a mortise, joint, etc

30. (Nautical Terms) (tr) nautical

a. to secure or stow

b. to secure (a topmast)

c. to secure and stow (an anchor)

[Old English hūs; related to Old High German hūs, Gothic gudhūs temple, Old Norse hūs house]

ˈhouseless adj




2. (Stock Exchange) informal Brit the Stock Exchange


(n., adj. haʊs; v. haʊz)

n., pl. hous•es (ˈhaʊ zɪz)

v. housed, hous•ing,
adj. n.

1. a building in which people live; residence.

2. a household.

3. (often cap.) a family, including ancestors and descendants: the House of Hapsburg.

4. a building, enclosure, or other construction for any of various purposes (usu. used in combination): a clubhouse; a doghouse.

5. a theater, concert hall, or auditorium.

6. the audience of a theater or the like.


a. (often cap.) a legislative or official deliberative body, esp. one branch of a bicameral legislature: the House of Representatives.

b. the building in which such a body meets.

c. a quorum of such a body.

8. (often cap.) a commercial establishment; business firm: a publishing house.

9. a gambling casino or its management.

10. a residential hall in a college or school; dormitory.

11. the members or residents of any such residential hall.

12. Informal. a brothel; whorehouse.

13. Also called parish. the area enclosed by a circle 12 or 14 ft. (3.7 or 4.2 m) in diameter at each end of a curling rink, having the tee in the center.

14. Naut. any enclosed shelter above the weather deck of a vessel: bridge house.

15. Astrol. one of the 12 divisions of the celestial sphere, numbered counterclockwise from the point of the E horizon.


17. to put or receive into a house, dwelling, or shelter; lodge or harbor: to house students in a dormitory; to house flood victims in a church.

18. to provide with a place, as to work or study: This floor houses our executive staff.

19. to be a receptacle or repository for; hold; contain: This casing houses the batteries.


20. to take shelter; dwell.


21. of or noting a house.

22. suitable for or customarily used or kept in a house: house paint; house pets.

23. (of a product) made by or for a specific retailer and often sold under the store’s own label.

24. served by a restaurant as its customary brand: the house wine.


1. bring down the house, to inspire a live audience to break into prolonged, unrestrained laughter or applause over one’s performance.

2. keep house, to maintain a home; manage a household.

3. on the house, as a gift from the management; free.

[before 900; Middle English h(o)us, Old English hūs, c. Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old High German, Old Norse hūs, Gothic -hus (in gudhus temple)]

syn: house, home, residence, dwelling are terms applied to a place in which people live. house is generally applied to a structure built for one or two families or social units: a ranch house in the suburbs. home may be used of an apartment or a private house; it retains connotations of domestic comfort and family ties: Their home is full of charm and character. residence is characteristic of formal usage and often implies spaciousness and elegance: the private residence of the prime minister. dwelling is a general and neutral word (a houseboat is a floating dwelling) and therefore commonly used in legal, scientific, and other technical contexts, as in a lease or in the phrases multiple dwelling, single-family dwelling.

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