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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.