n. pl. hous·es(houzĭz, -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
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.
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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.