Definition of room in English:

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Pronunciation: /ro͞om/
Pronunciation: /ro͝om/


1Space that can be occupied or where something can be done, especially viewed in terms of whether there is enough: there’s only room for a single bed in there [with infinitive]: she was trapped without room to move
More example sentences
  • There is room in the safer areas for these children; householders have volunteered to provide it.
  • The man sat down between two people, so she didn't have room to move to see his face.
  • Small enough to be cosy, large enough to give her room to move if she wished it.
headroom, legroom;
area, expanse, extent
informal elbow room
1.1Opportunity or scope for something to happen or be done, especially without causing trouble or damage: there is plenty of room for disagreement in this controversial area there is room for improvement
More example sentences
  • But don't rest on your laurels; there will probably still be room for improvement.
  • She said of the three offices, one was doing extremely well while the other two had room for improvement.
  • There is plenty of room for anarchy in such a world, and plenty of room for utopianism, but no real place for the state.
capacity, scope, leeway, latitude, freedom;
opportunity, chance
2A part or division of a building enclosed by walls, floor, and ceiling: he wandered from room to room
More example sentences
  • One of the delightful surprises is the ceiling of the toddler room on the second floor.
  • Finally, the attic conversion has added two further rooms with walls and ceilings panelled in white deal.
  • On the first floor the master bedroom and en suite bathroom are both spacious rooms with high ceilings.
2.1 (rooms) A set of rooms, typically rented, in which a person, couple, or family live: my rooms at Mrs. Jenks’s house
More example sentences
  • They get the sign-painter's boy to help, because his family rents rooms in the schoolmaster's house.
  • Gwen and her family lived in the upper rooms of a small house and I knew from experience that the smell of too many people in too small a place hit a person the second they opened the front door.
  • He lives in rooms set apart from the rest of the house, to allow him some independence from his parents.
accommodations, quarters, lodgings;
a suite, an apartment, an efficiency unit
informal a pad, digs
2.2 [in singular] The people present in a room: the whole room burst into an uproar of approval
More example sentences
  • Others join in and the whole room burst into a riot of clapping, yells, and screaming.
  • Isis thought of how she would like to be able to quiet a whole room by just her presence.
  • We suggest with this game that rather than reporters popping up, there should be a whole room of reporters.


[no object] North American
1Share a room or house or apartment, especially a rented one at a college or similar institution: I was rooming with my cousin
More example sentences
  • It was a phrase your father used on me back when we roomed together here at The Institute.
  • You might be rooming in the same dorm house you know.
  • I was simply tickled when I found out that we would be rooming together.
board, lodge, live, stay;
be quartered, be housed, be billeted
formal dwell, reside, sojourn
1.1 [with object] Provide with a shared room or lodging: they roomed us together
More example sentences
  • ‘An old acquaintance of mine will be rooming you for the night,’ Dann says.
  • Instead, I muttered, ‘Because it sucks being roomed with someone who dislikes me.’



get a room

[usually in imperative] informal Go somewhere private (used as a humorous or mildly disapproving comment on a public display of extremely affectionate or amorous behavior between a couple): seriously you two, just get a room!
More example sentences
  • Her kids are constantly telling them to "get a room."
  • Oh, just get a room, you two.
  • Whoa, get a room, you guys!

make room

Move aside or move something aside to allow someone to enter or pass or to clear space for something: the secretary entered with the coffee tray and made room for it on the desk
More example sentences
  • Clear out the space and make room for your heater to function at its best.
  • ‘Sorry,’ she whispered, crowding herself onto the edge of the stairs, making room for him to pass.
  • The new space makes room for a counter-height table and stools, plus a wall of pantry cupboards.

no (or not) room to swing a cat

humorous Used in reference to a very confined space.
Cat in the sense 'cat-o'-nine-tails'
Example sentences
  • You don't need to have been inside a dog trap yourself to understand that there isn't room to swing a cat in there,
  • We have a splendid cabin and there's plenty of room - but in most places there isn't room to swing a cat.

smoke-filled room

Used to refer to political bargaining or decision-making that is conducted privately by a small group of influential people rather than more openly or democratically.
Example sentences
  • We got into this mess because we needed to create political leadership opportunities and replace the smoke-filled room with the open-source, collaborative politics that is our future.
  • After the Civil War, said Bonpane, ‘Hayes agreed in a smoke-filled room to take the Yankee troops out of the South.’
  • The voters don't really participate in the primaries, and I think Sandy's got a point: not necessarily a smoke-filled room, but bring back party leadership.



Pronunciation: /ro͞omd/ Pronunciation: /ro͝omd/
[in combination]: a four-roomed house


Old English rūm, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ruim, German Raum.

  • In Old English room meant ‘the amount of space occupied by something’, and did not mean ‘an interior division of a building’ until the 14th century. The majority of houses then would have had only one room. Sometimes political negotiation is described as having taken place in a smoke-filled room, meaning that it has been conducted privately rather than more openly. The expression comes from a 1920s news report about the selection of the Republican presidential candidate, Warren Harding, who in 1921 became the 29th president of the United States. According to the report he was ‘chosen by a group of men in a smoke-filled room’. Harding was at the time something of a dark horse, and a lack of openness and democracy was associated with his selection. Room at the top is a way of describing the opportunity to join the higher ranks of an organization. The phrase is attributed to the American politician Daniel Webster (1782–1852), who was warned against attempting to enter the overcrowded legal profession. He is said to have replied, ‘There is always room at the top.’ The phrase was taken up in the early 20th century and was used as the title of John Braine's first novel, published in 1957, about an ambitious young man in an industrial town in the north of England which was filmed in 1959. An elephant in the room is an obvious, major problem or controversial issue that is being studiously avoided as a subject for discussion. The phrase was originally American, and seems to have been first used in the early 1980s, in the language of therapists treating people addicted to drink or drugs. An alternative is a moose on the table. See also cat

Words that rhyme with room

abloom, assume, backroom, bloom, Blum, boom, broom, brume, combe, consume, doom, entomb, exhume, flume, foredoom, fume, gloom, Hume, illume, inhume, Khartoum, khoum, loom, neume, perfume, plume, presume, resume, rheum, spume, subsume, tomb, vroom, whom, womb, zoom

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: room

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