Definition of house in English:

house

Line breaks: house

noun

Pronunciation: /haʊs
 
/
1A building for human habitation, especially one that consists of a ground floor and one or more upper storeys: a house of Cotswold stone [as modifier]: house prices
More example sentences
  • Real foxes do, indeed, sometimes make their homes under human houses and, increasingly in this country at any rate, under city homes.
  • The plaintiffs were required to carry out certain repairs by the local council in order to render houses fit for human habitation.
  • Then here were a great many houses; human habitations, full of the mysteries of life at every stage of it.
Synonyms
home, place of residence, homestead, lodging place, a roof over one's head
1.1The people living in a house; a household: make yourself scarce before you wake the whole house
More example sentences
  • Every creak of a floor board or an opening door seems loud enough to wake up the whole house.
  • He picked up his cell phone to call her but thought that he would be waking up the whole house.
  • I would have called you, but I didn't want to wake your entire house at seven on a weekend.
Synonyms
household, family, family circle, ménage, clan, tribe
informal brood
1.2A noble, royal, or wealthy family or lineage; a dynasty: the power and prestige of the House of Stewart
More example sentences
  • Mountbatten was born to a family closely related to the house of Windsor.
  • Mar decided to retaliate by raising the standard for the house of Stuart.
  • The Picts also practiced matrilineal descent - thus their royal houses all descended through the female line.
Synonyms
1.3chiefly Scottish A dwelling that is one of several in a building.
1.4 [with modifier] A building in which animals live or in which things are kept: a hen house
More example sentences
  • The Reptile House gives visitors an insight into the reptile and amphibian world in its many shapes and sizes.
  • The majority of the Zoo's birds live in the beautiful, sanctuary-like Bird House but birds are also scattered throughout other exhibits.
2A building in which people meet for a particular activity: a house of prayer
More example sentences
  • Jesus, berating the money-changers in the Temple, called the building a house of prayer.
  • He also noted that it did not take into account the mosques and Muslim houses of prayer destroyed since 1948.
  • It is not right to make a fortress of Christ's church, which is a house of prayer.
2.1A firm or institution: a publishing house
More example sentences
  • The film board is a Canadian government film production house.
  • Purchase recommendations from all of the major financial houses bejewel the company's stock like diamonds.
  • The items included kites, toiletries, chocolates, biscuits, washing soaps, breakfast cereals and beans which she sourced from various business houses in the capital city.
Synonyms
2.2 (the House) British informal The Stock Exchange.
More example sentences
  • 'From the Alley to the House is like a path of ants', said Walpole.
2.3A restaurant or inn: help yourself to a drink, compliments of the house! [as modifier]: a carafe of house wine
More example sentences
  • We'll dine at the fanciest and snootiest drive-thru restaurants and waffle houses.
  • There are a few trusty pizza houses and French restaurants for those who can't face cooking after a day of strenuous exercise.
  • You can sip a cup of tea at the tea house and restaurant inside the garden.
Synonyms
inn, bar, tavern, hostelry, taproom; restaurant, hotel, eating house; Britishpub, public house
informal eatery, boozer
North American historical saloon
2.4 dated A brothel.
More example sentences
  • In an attempt to create Canada’s first cooperative bawdy house, a sex-work organization will submit a request to Parliament for amnesty from an anti-brothel provision within the next six months.
2.5A theatre: a hundred musicians performed in front of a full house
More example sentences
  • Most of the picture houses and theatres carried a lot of publicity from their managers' point of view.
  • That attendance at theatre houses has dropped can only point to the fact that the quality of productions has not been impressive as has been the investment.
  • The community responds and you screen in 800 seat theatres to packed houses.
Synonyms
audience, crowd, those present, listeners, spectators, viewers, gathering, assembly, assemblage, congregation; gallery, stalls
informal punters
2.6British A performance in a theatre or cinema: tickets for the first house
More example sentences
  • Since Gyan's return to the North Coast she has been performing to sellout houses.
  • It played six performances to packed houses at Sydney's Conservatorium, and attracted gratifying media attention.
  • Later it performed to packed houses at Andrew's Lane Theatre in Dublin
3A religious community that occupies a particular building: the Cistercian house at Clairvaux
More example sentences
  • Giberti, like Sadoleto, chose to reside in his see, where he disciplined his clergy, reformed religious houses, and took the cure of souls seriously.
  • Joseph II reduced the number of religious houses belonging to the contemplative orders.
  • In England, for example, there were some fifty religious houses in 1066 and perhaps 1,000 monks and nuns.
3.1A residential building for pupils at a boarding school: a house of 45 boarders [as modifier]: a house prefect
More example sentences
  • No parts of the university were closed to the public (of course, the residential fraternity houses were another matter).
  • In the final chapter, Kiely tells us about his adventures as a master of one of Harvard's residential houses.
  • The boarding houses are Grange Court, Sandon Lodge, and Hainault House.
3.2British Each of a number of groups into which pupils at a day school are divided for games or competition.
More example sentences
  • There were eight houses or forms that divided up the pupils at Bishop Luffa and Sherbourne had now become the odd one out, the unlucky one.
  • Students are divided into houses based on their special needs or interests.
  • From the very start, competition between the houses is encouraged.
3.3British formal A college of a university.
More example sentences
  • He studied at the Castle, one of four teaching houses of the university which offered two year Arts degrees based almost entirely on the teachings of Aristotle.
  • College House is New Zealand’s oldest and most traditional University College, and is home to 152 students at the University of Canterbury.
4A legislative or deliberative assembly: the sixty-member National Council, the country’s upper house
More example sentences
  • At the state level, some of the legislatures are bicameral, patterned after the two houses of the national parliament.
  • The referendum has been widely adopted to protect key aspects of state constitutions, such as the governor and the two houses of parliament.
  • This introduced a national parliament with two houses for India.
Synonyms
legislative assembly, legislative body, chamber, council, parliament, diet, congress, senate
4.1 (the House) (In the UK) the House of Commons or Lords; (in the US) the House of Representatives: the government commanded an overall majority in the House
More example sentences
  • The oldest member of parliament, he served as speaker of the house when it first met.
  • Ideally, the president of the GMC would present the annual report in public, before a committee of both houses of parliament.
  • We accept that a time will come when the houses of parliament and the government will have to agree a final form of the bill that is less than ideal.
4.2Used in formal debates that mimic the procedures of a legislative assembly: a debate on the motion ‘This house would legalize cannabis’
More example sentences
  • This House Would Under No Circumstances Fight For Queen And Country.
  • This house would privatise Britain's universities.
5 (also house music) [mass noun] A style of electronic dance music typically having sparse, repetitive vocals and a fast beat: DJs specializing in techno, garage, and house
More example sentences
  • We were influenced by electro, hip-hop, house music, jazz-funk, reggae, everything really.
  • I mainly listen to minimal techno house, mostly because that's what I play out.
  • Next door, was a cafe run by a former ska musician with a love for house and techno.
6 Astrology A twelfth division of the celestial sphere, based on the positions of the ascendant and midheaven at a given time and place, and determined by any of a number of methods.
More example sentences
  • It is also good to have the ruler of the Ascendant and the 2nd house in mutual reception.
  • A horoscope needs to be drawn and studied and the meaning of aspects as well as the positioning of houses and planets have to be understood.
  • His seventh house contains Mars while Libra is at the Ascendant containing Uranus.
6.1A twelfth division of the celestial sphere represented as a sector on an astrological chart, used in allocating elements of character and circumstance to different spheres of human life.
More example sentences
  • I look further along and I see the Moon is at the top of the chart in the ninth house at 14 degrees of Virgo.
  • The angular houses represent our own ‘seats of power’, places of familiarity and control.
  • Every astrology chart is divided into houses, starting with the Ascendant line and working anti-clockwise around the rest of the chart.
7 [mass noun] British old-fashioned term for bingo.
7.1 [as exclamation] Used by a bingo player to announce that they have won.
More example sentences
  • I made the cardinal bingo greenhorn's mistake of calling house when I hadn't filled my card.
  • In every game of bingo the tickets will be only 5p or 10p so you could be shouting house for just 5p.

adjective

[attributive] Back to top  
1(Of an animal or plant) kept in, frequenting, or infesting buildings.
More example sentences
  • The study also showed that rather than living in hutches, four out of 10 pet rabbits were house rabbits.
  • The cougar reportedly snatched a house cat and ran off into the bush with it.
  • It was a paddock for the grazing of house cows and the Governor's horses.
2Relating to a firm, institution, or society: a house journal
More example sentences
  • Business Week, which wants to be the house journal for Web 2.0 badgers, has no doubts.
  • This section looks firstly at factors concerned with the fund manager's organisational structure and secondly at matters relating to the implementation of the house policy.
  • The main purpose of an external house journal is to promote the organization, its products, and its services.
2.1(Of a band or group) resident or regularly performing in a club or other venue: the house band
More example sentences
  • As always, the house band will be in residence with all the usual suspects!
  • Jim Bridges and Cory Papirny are the house band rhythm section this time around.
  • He takes his place near the back of the house band, playing the spoons in perfect tempo.

verb

Pronunciation: /haʊz
 
/
[with object] Back to top  
1Provide with shelter or accommodation: they converted a disused cinema to house twelve employees
More example sentences
  • The women and children cited by Coleman in the column appear to be housed in shelters.
  • If an asylum-seeker turned up with his family I am sure they would be housed in far better accommodation than these poor people have to live in.
  • It enables vulnerable people to be housed in suitable accommodation so that they can try and turn their lives around.
Synonyms
accommodate, provide accommodation for, provide with accommodation, give accommodation to, make space for, make room for, give someone a roof over their head, provide a roof over someone's head, provide with a place to work, harbour; lodge, quarter, board, billet, take in, provide shelter for, shelter; sleep, put up, give a bed to, provide with a place to sleep
2Provide space for; contain or accommodate: the museum houses a collection of Roman sculpture
More example sentences
  • The Van Gogh museum houses the largest collection of this troubled man's masterpieces, and is definitely worth a look.
  • The experience of being inside the David and Peggy Rockefeller Building, which houses the museum's new galleries, is uplifting.
  • The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is housed in one such building, at 97 Orchard Street.
Synonyms
contain, hold, store, cover; protect, enclose, encase, sheathe, keep safe
2.1Fix (something) in a socket or mortise.
More example sentences
  • The joinery not only meets the requirements of modern engineering, it is the classic housed mortise and tenon joinery that has withstood the test of time.
  • A socket for receiving the wedge base electric lamp houses socket terminals serving to retain the electric lamp and to provide contact with lead wires of the electric lamp.

Origin

Old English hūs (noun), hūsian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch huis, German Haus (nouns), and Dutch huizen, German hausen (verbs).

Phrases

as safe as houses

British Completely safe.
More example sentences
  • One man said we were as safe as houses but it unnerves you.
  • In comparison Ricardo, the Portuguese goalkeeper, was as safe as houses, and can consider himself unfortunate not to have parried away the Larsson effort, which gave Celtic their winning goal.
  • Whilst the opposition parties and various independent bodies warned of the risk of increased electoral fraud, the government pressed on, claiming that the new postal votes were as safe as houses.

get on (or along) like a house on fire

informal Have a very good and friendly relationship: Gav and my Aunt Janice got on like a house on fire
More example sentences
  • ‘We got on like a house on fire,’ she said of her relationship with Chris.
  • My friend M went to see this guy and they got on like a house on fire.
  • A source revealed: ‘Robbie and Nicole met up last week and got on like a house on fire.’

go (all) round the houses

British
Take a circuitous route to one’s destination.
More example sentences
  • ‘If nobody takes personal responsibility for the claim it will just go round the houses,’ she warns.
  • Well, Andy, our feature writer Stephen Lewis went all round the houses trying to find working telephone numbers for Loadbikes and Cyclone.
  • Was he your first choice from the moment you wrote the script, or did you have to go round the houses a little before you came to that conclusion?
Take an unnecessarily long time to get to the point: a partner is likely to go all round the houses today, when it’s obvious what they are hinting at
More example sentences
  • As my husband says I'm can't say yes I have to go round the houses first and then give an answer which means yes but doesn't feature the word yes.
  • If you would just like to ask your solicitor, otherwise it will be a lot of going round the houses to achieve nothing except for saving the defendant having to pay something.
  • Experts in language learning recognise the value of going round the houses a bit to avoid those aspects of a language that you have problems with.

house and home

A person’s home (used for emphasis): some people sell house and home to sit in a boat writing books
More example sentences
  • At the same time, he postulated that ‘a woman's duty is to see to house and home.’
  • You certainly love her, but don't forget about all those times when her brother invited himself over for dinner, unannounced of course, eating the two of you out of house and home.
  • Also if you get too many deer in one place they can eat themselves out of house and home,’ Mr Cubby added.

a house divided cannot stand

proverb A group or organization weakened by internal dissensions will be unable to withstand external pressures.
More example sentences
  • A great man once said that a house divided cannot stand.
  • It was Jesus, and much later Abraham Lincoln, that pointed out that a house divided cannot stand.
  • ‘The church of Jesus Christ has been divided and a house divided cannot stand.’

house of cards

A structure built out of playing cards precariously balanced together.
More example sentences
  • Like a precariously balanced house of cards, the McCartney team collapsed on the eve of a high-profile 2001 launch, due to be held in Trafalgar Square.
  • Similarly, our connectedness, our human compact, is sandwiched together like the floors in a house of cards that is easier to knock down than we might think.
  • Hustvedt is an excellent writer but the structure of the book seems as flimsy as a house of cards, and the resolution at the end highly unsatisfactory.
Used to refer to an insubstantial or insecure situation or scheme: the special constitutional arrangement collapsed like a house of cards
More example sentences
  • As events conspire to topple the rather precarious house of cards that Murdock has built for himself, he comes to realise that he is trapped in an ever-worsening cycle of despair.
  • It may be a house of cards or window dressing to those of us who understand security, but the vast majority of the population does not understand security.
  • But the pyramid of evidence-based medicine is not solid-it's a house of cards.

keep (or make) a House

British Secure the presence of enough members for a quorum in the House of Commons.
More example sentences
  • They could hardly get Members to make a House before 10 o'clock.
  • Keep a House in case of a vote.

keep house

Do the cooking, cleaning, and other tasks involved in the running of a household: a young girl named Roxie came over to keep house for him
More example sentences
  • The beneficiary of all this motorized magic was nearly every American who cleans or keeps house.
  • I have been instructing her in all the basic cooking and keeping house ways.
  • Girls learned how to cook and clean and keep house against the day that they might someday be wed to a wealthy man.

on the house

(Of a drink or meal in a bar or restaurant) at the management’s expense; free: our first rounds always came on the house
More example sentences
  • The Cretans almost always give you a drink on the house at the start or end of a meal.
  • It's the landlord's last night, so the final rounds of drinks are on the house.
  • I then informed her that as she was so nice, and this was her first visit to this bar, her drink was on the house.
Synonyms
free, free of charge, without payment, without charge, at no cost, for nothing, gratis; courtesy, complimentary
informal for free
North American informal comp

play house

(Of a child) play at being a family in its home: I suggested exploring the woods or playing house
More example sentences
  • But I'm sure if you nicely explain your feelings, your folks would agree with you that playing house as kids means little when it comes to having a real boyfriend.
  • I am a responsible member of society, but I still feel like a kid playing house, expecting the real world to catch up with me any second.
  • She loves mermaids, playing house, and it also came with lots of little things: a flower shower, a little boat, a tiny slide.

put (or set) one's house in order

Make necessary reforms: the Americans need to put their own economic house in order
More example sentences
  • And the overall message to the arbiters of the city's destiny is blunt and clear - set your house in order or else people will start looking elsewhere when they consider a location for their next round of investment.
  • Let us first set our house in order before showing it off to others through the Net.
  • They bounced back, put their house in order and became a paradigm of how it can all work out.

set up house

Make one’s home in a specified place: he moved to Manhattan and set up house on 54th Street
More example sentences
  • In 1751 John Home married, and David and his sister set up house in Edinburgh, moving to slightly more luxurious quarters as his fortunes improved.
  • He moved to London in 1964, set up house with schoolteacher Brian Taylor, and worked his way through London and local theatre.
  • It wasn't until I started making a list of things I needed to buy that I realised how many accoutrements are involved in setting up house.

Derivatives

houseful

noun (plural housefuls)
More example sentences
  • In the pictures from the burial, his wife Marie looked as distressed and tearful as any woman, left alone to bring up a houseful of children without much material support, might be expected to look.
  • And I hope we have a houseful of people.
  • And in a houseful of a lot of kids, and there were a lot of grand kids around, he would get on top of a chair to get attention if necessary.

houseless

adjective
More example sentences
  • In the guise of providing shelter to siteless or houseless persons, the owners of immovable properties are made landless and also jobless.
  • When they first glimpsed Carmel, it reminded them of the Cornish coast (back then the area was treeless, still largely houseless, and windswept).
  • I get on a train, and am disgorged on a dark, houseless Merrylee Road.

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