AskDefine | Define house

Dictionary Definition



1 a dwelling that serves as living quarters for one or more families; "he has a house on Cape Cod"; "she felt she had to get out of the house"
2 an official assembly having legislative powers; "the legislature has two houses"
3 a building in which something is sheltered or located; "they had a large carriage house"
4 a social unit living together; "he moved his family to Virginia"; "It was a good Christian household"; "I waited until the whole house was asleep"; "the teacher asked how many people made up his home" [syn: family, household, home, menage]
5 a building where theatrical performances or motion-picture shows can be presented; "the house was full" [syn: theater, theatre]
6 members of a business organization that owns or operates one or more establishments; "he worked for a brokerage house" [syn: firm, business firm]
7 aristocratic family line; "the House of York"
8 the members of a religious community living together
9 the audience gathered together in a theatre or cinema; "the house applauded"; "he counted the house"
10 play in which children take the roles of father or mother or children and pretend to interact like adults; "the children were playing house"
11 (astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided [syn: sign of the zodiac, star sign, sign, mansion, planetary house]
12 the management of a gambling house or casino; "the house gets a percentage of every bet"


1 contain or cover; "This box houses the gears"
2 provide housing for; "The immigrants were housed in a new development outside the town" [syn: put up, domiciliate]

User Contributed Dictionary

see House



From h(o)us < hūs (dwelling, shelter, house) < Proto-Germanic *khusan, of unknown origin.




  1. A structure serving as an abode of human beings.
    This is my house and my family's ancestral home.
  2. The mode of living as if in a house.
    They set up house in a posh apartment.
  3. The usual place to find an object or an animal.
    The photo was put in its little house.
  4. A structure to protect or store something or someone.
    The former carriage house had been made over into a guest house.
  5. A protective structure on the deck of a ship.
    A pilot took charge of the wheel house until the ship was moored.
  6. A theatre building.
  7. The audience for a live theatrical or similar performance.
    After her swan-song, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
  8. A debating chamber for government politicians.
  9. An establishment, whether actual, as a pub, or virtual, as a website.
  10. A dynasty, a familial descendance, for example, a royal House.
    The current Queen is from the House of Windsor.
  11. One of the twelve divisions of an astrological chart.
  12. House music.
  13. The three concentric circles where points are scored on the ice
  14. An early or alternative name for the game bingo.
  15. A complete set of numbers in bingo.


archetypal structure of a human abode
early or alternative name for the game bingo
complete set of numbers in bingo
usual place to find an animal or an object
auditorium for a theatre
the theatre itself
debating chamber for government politicians
  • Finnish: kamari
  • Russian: палата
  • Swedish: hus, kammare
an establishment
  • Spanish: casa
  • Swedish: hus
the inner workings, as of a clock
  • Swedish: hus
dynasty, familiar descendance
  • Aramaic:
    Syriac: ܒܝܬܐ (baytā’)
    Hebrew: ביתא (baytā’)
  • Finnish: huone
  • Russian: дом (dom)
  • Spanish: casa
  • Swedish: hus
astrology: one of the twelve divisions of an astrological chart
  • Finnish: huone
  • Spanish: casa
genre of music See house music

External links


  1. To keep within a structure or container.
    The car is housed in the garage.
  2. To admit to residence; to harbor/harbour.
  3. To dwell within one of the twelve astrological houses.
  4. To contain or cover mechanical parts.



keep within a structure or container
  • French: garer, loger
  • Portuguese: armazenar
  • Russian: вмещать (vmeščát’)
  • Spanish: almacenar
admit to residence
  • French: héberger, abriter, loger
  • German: unterbringen, beherbergen
  • Portuguese: alojar, hospedar
  • Russian: помещать (pomeščát’), селить (selít’)
  • Spanish: alojar, hospedar, albergar
dwell within one of the twelve astrological houses
contain or enclose mechanical parts
  • Spanish: encajar, envolver





  1. gosling




  1. house music, house



  1. house music, house



  1. house music, house




  1. house music, house



  1. house music, house




  1. house music, house



  1. house music, house



  1. house music, house

Extensive Definition

House generally refers to a shelter or building that is single family detached dwelling or place for habitation by human beings. "Homes" on the other hand include many kinds of dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to high-rise apartment buildings. However, the word can also be used as a verb ("to house"), and can have adjectival formations as well. In some contexts, "house" may mean the same as dwelling, residence, home, abode, accommodation, housing, lodging, among other meanings. A house is where some people live (most).
The social unit that lives in a house is known as a household. Most commonly, a household is a family unit of some kind, though households can be other social groups, such as single persons, or groups of unrelated individuals. Settled agrarian and industrial societies are composed of household units living permanently in housing of various types, according to a variety of forms of Land tenure. English-speaking people generally call any building they routinely occupy "home". Many people leave their house during the day for work and recreation but typically return to it to sleep or for other activities.


The oldest house in the world is approximately from 10,000B.C. and was made of mammoth bones, found at Mezhirich near Kiev in Ukraine. It was probably covered with mammoth hides. The house was discovered in 1965 by a farmer digging a new basement six feet below the ground.
Architect Norbert Schoenauer, in his book 6,000 Years of Housing, identifies three major categories of types of housing: the "Pre-Urban" house, the "Oriental Urban" house, and the "Occidental Urban" house.
Types of Pre-Urban houses include temporary dwellings such as the Inuit igloo, semi-permanent dwellings such as the pueblo, and permanent dwellings such as the New England homestead.
"Oriental Urban" houses include houses of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and traditional urban houses in China, India, and Islamic cities.
"Occidental Urban" houses include medieval urban houses, the Renaissance town house, and the houses, tenements and apartments of the 19th and 20th centuries.



The developed world in general features three basic types of house that have their own ground-level entry and private open space, and usually on a separately titled parcel of land:
In addition, there are various forms of attached housing where a number of dwelling units are co-located within the same structure, which share a ground-level entry and may or may not have any private open space, such as apartments (a.k.a. flats) of various scales. Another type of housing is movable, such as houseboats, caravans, and trailer homes.
In the United Kingdom, 27% of the population live in terraced houses and 32% in semi-detached houses, as of 2002. In the United States as of 2000, 61.4% of people live in detached houses and 5.6% in semi-detached houses, 26% in row houses or apartments, and 7% in mobile homes.


Archaeologists have a particular interest in house shape: they see the transition over time from round huts to rectangular houses as a significant advance in optimizing the use of space, and associate it with the growth of the idea of a personal area (see personal space).


Some houses transcend the basic functionality of providing "a roof over one's head" or of serving as a family "hearth and home". When a house becomes a display-case for wealth and/or fashion and/or conspicuous consumption, we may speak of a "great house". The residence of a feudal lord or of a ruler may require defensive structures and thus turn into a fort or a castle. The house of a monarch may come to house courtiers and officers as well as the royal family: this sort of house may become a palace. Moreover, in time the lord or monarch may wish to retreat to a more personal or simple space such as a villa, a hunting lodge or a dacha. Compare the popularity of the holiday house or cottage, also known as a crib.
In contrast to a relatively upper class or modern trend to ownership of multiple houses, much of human history shows the importance of multi-purpose houses. Thus the house long served as the traditional place of work (the original cottage industry site or "in-house" small-scale manufacturing workshop) or of commerce (featuring, for example, a ground floor "shop-front" shop or counter or office, with living space above). During the Industrial Revolution there was a separation of manufacturing and banking from the house, though to this day some shopkeepers continue (or have returned) to live "over the shop".

Inside the house


Many houses have several rooms with specialized functions. These may include a living/eating area, a sleeping area, and (if suitable facilities and services exist) washing and lavatory areas. In traditional agriculture-oriented societies, domestic animals such as chickens or larger livestock (like cattle) often share part of the house with human beings. Most conventional modern houses will at least contain a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (or kitchen area), and a living room. A typical "foursquare house" (as pictured) occurred commonly in the early history of the United States of America, with a staircase in the center of the house, surrounded by four rooms, and connected to other sections of the house (including in more recent eras a garage).
The names of parts of a house often echo the names of parts of other buildings, but could typically include:
  • Fireplace (for warmth during winter; generally not found in warmer climates)


Ideally, architects of houses design rooms to meet the needs of the people who will live in the house. Such designing, known as "interior design", has become a popular subject in universities. Feng shui, originally a Chinese method of situating houses according to such factors as sunlight and micro-climates, has recently expanded its scope to address the design of interior spaces with a view to promoting harmonious effects on the people living inside the house. Feng shui can also mean the 'aura' in or around a dwelling. Compare the real-estate sales concept of "indoor-outdoor flow".
The square footage of a house in the United States reports the area of "living space", excluding the garage and other non-living spaces. The "square meters" figure of a house in Europe reports the area of the walls enclosing the home, and thus includes any attached garage and non-living spaces.


In the United States, modern house-construction techniques include light-frame construction (in areas with access to supplies of wood) and adobe or sometimes rammed-earth construction (in arid regions with scarce wood-resources). Some areas use brick almost exclusively, and quarried stone has long provided walling. To some extent, aluminum and steel have displaced some traditional building materials. Increasingly popular alternative construction materials include insulating concrete forms (foam forms filled with concrete), structural insulated panels (foam panels faced with oriented strand board or fiber cement), and light-gauge steel framing and heavy-gauge steel framing.
More generally, people often build houses out of the nearest available material, and often tradition and/or culture govern construction-materials, so whole towns, areas, counties or even states/countries may be built out of one main type of material. For example, a large fraction of American houses use wood, while most British and many European houses utilize stone or brick.
In the 1900s, some house designers started using prefabrication. Sears, Roebuck & Co. first marketed their Houses by Mail to the general public in 1908. Prefab techniques became popular after World War II. First small inside rooms framing, then later, whole walls were prefabricated and carried to the construction site. The original impetus was to use the labor force inside a shelter during inclement weather. More recently builders have begun to collaborate with structural engineers who use computers and finite element analysis to design prefabricated steel-framed homes with known resistance to high wind-loads and seismic forces. These newer products provide labor savings, more consistent quality, and possibly accelerated construction processes.
Lesser-used construction methods have gained (or regained) popularity in recent years. Though not in wide use, these methods frequently appeal to homeowners who may become actively involved in the construction process. They include:


In the developed world, energy-conservation has grown in importance in house-design. Housing produces a major proportion of carbon emissions (30% of the total in the UK, for example).
Development of a number of low-energy building types and techniques continues. They include the zero-energy house, the passive solar house, superinsulated and houses built to the Passivhaus standard.

Legal issues

Buildings with historical importance have restrictions.

United Kingdom

New houses in the UK are not covered by the Sale of Goods Act. When purchasing a new house the buyer has less legal protection than when buying a new car. New houses in the UK may be covered by a NHBC guarantee but some people feel that it would be more useful to put new houses on the same legal footing as other products.

USA & Canada

In the US and Canada, many new houses are built in housing tracts, which provide homeowners a sense of "belonging" and the feeling they have "made the best use" of their money. However, these houses are often built as cheaply and quickly as possible by large builders seeking to maximize profits. Many environmental health issues are ignored or minimized in the construction of these structures. In one case in Benicia, California, a housing tract was built over an old landfill. Homebuyers were never told, and only found out when some began having reactions to high levels of lead and chromium.

Identifying houses

With the growth of dense settlement, humans designed ways of identifying houses and/or parcels of land. Individual houses sometimes acquire proper names; and those names may acquire in their turn considerable emotional connotations: see for example the house of Howards End or the castle of Brideshead Revisited. A more systematic and general approach to identifying houses may use various methods of house numbering.

Animal houses

Humans often build "houses" for domestic or wild animals, often resembling smaller versions of human domiciles. Familiar animal houses built by humans include bird-houses, hen-houses/chicken-coops and doghouses (kennels); while housed agricultural animals more often live in barns and stables. However, human interest in building houses for animals does not stop at the domestic pet. People build bat-houses, nesting-sites for wild ducks and other birds, as well as for many other animals.


Forms of (relatively) simple shelter may include:

Houses and symbolism

Houses may express the circumstances or opinions of their builders or their inhabitants. Thus a vast and elaborate house may serve as a sign of conspicuous wealth, whereas a low-profile house built of recycled materials may indicate support of energy conservation.
Houses of particular historical significance (former residences of the famous, for example, or even just very old houses) may gain a protected status in town planning as examples of built heritage and/or of streetscape values. Plaques may mark such structures.
House-ownership (home-ownership) provides a common measure of prosperity in economics. Contrast the importance of house-destruction, tent dwelling and house rebuilding in the wake of many natural disasters.
Peter Olshavsky’s House for the Dance of Death provides a 'pataphysical variation on the house.


The house occurs as a rare charge in heraldry.

See also


house in Tosk Albanian: Haus
house in Arabic: منزل
house in Official Aramaic (700-300 BCE): ܒܝܬܐ
house in Guarani: Óga
house in Aymara: Uta
house in Bengali: ঘর
house in Breton: Ti
house in Bulgarian: Къща
house in Catalan: Casa
house in Czech: Dům
house in Welsh: Tŷ
house in Danish: Hus
house in German: Haus
house in Modern Greek (1453-): Κατοικία
house in Spanish: Casa
house in Esperanto: Domo
house in Basque: Etxe
house in French: Maison
house in Friulian: Cjase
house in Galician: Casa
house in Korean: 집
house in Indonesian: Rumah
house in Icelandic: Hús
house in Italian: Casa
house in Hebrew: בית מגורים
house in Georgian: სახლი
house in Kinyarwanda: Inzu
house in Swahili (macrolanguage): Nyumba
house in Latin: Domus
house in Lithuanian: Namas
house in Hungarian: Ház
house in Malay (macrolanguage): Rumah
house in Dutch: Woning
house in Dutch Low Saxon: Huus
house in Japanese: 家屋
house in Norwegian: Hus
house in Norwegian Nynorsk: Hus
house in Narom: Maisoun
house in Occitan (post 1500): Ostal
house in Polish: Dom
house in Portuguese: Casa
house in Kölsch: Huß
house in Vlax Romani: Kher
house in Quechua: Wasi
house in Russian: Жилище
house in Simple English: House
house in Slovenian: Hiša
house in Sundanese: Imah
house in Swedish: Hus
house in Tagalog: Tahanan
house in Kabyle: Axxam
house in Thai: บ้าน
house in Vietnamese: Nhà
house in Turkish: Ev
house in Ukrainian: Житло
house in Yiddish: הויז
house in Samogitian: Noms
house in Chinese: 住宅

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Aktiengesellschaft, Dymaxion house, Elizabethan theater, Globe Theatre, Greek theater, White House, abbey, abode, accommodate, adobe house, affiliation, agency, aktiebolag, amphitheater, ancestry, animal kingdom, apparentation, architecture, arena theater, as a gift, aspect, assembly, astrodiagnosis, astrology, astromancy, atelier, audience, auditorium, auditory, bagnio, barbershop, beauty parlor, beauty shop, bed, beleaguer, bench, berth, beset, besiege, bestow, billet, birth, blockade, blood, bloodline, board, body corporate, bordello, bound, boutique, box in, branch, breed, brood, brothel, building, bunk, business, business establishment, butcher shop, cabaret, cabin, cage, cartel, casa, chain store, chamber, chamber of commerce, children, circle theater, clan, class, cliff dwelling, cloister, close in, club, co-op, combine, commercial enterprise, common ancestry, commorancy, compagnie, company, compass, concern, concert hall, concession, conglomerate, conglomerate corporation, congregation, congress, consanguinity, consolidating company, consortium, construct, construction, consulate, contain, convent, coop, coop in, coop up, cooperative, copartnership, cordon, cordon off, corporate body, corporation, corral, council, countinghouse, country house, country seat, country store, crib, cuddy, dacha, deanery, deckhouse, deme, department store, derivation, descendants, descent, desk, diet, dime store, direct line, discount house, discount store, distaff side, diversified corporation, domicile, domiciliate, dwelling, dwelling house, dynasty, edifice, embassy, emporium, encircle, enclose, encompass, enshrine, enterprise, entertain, erection, establishment, extraction, fabric, facility, family, farm, farmhouse, female line, fence in, filiation, firm, five-and-ten, folk, folks, for nothing, forebears, free, friary, gallery, general store, genethliac astrology, genethliacism, genethliacs, genethlialogy, gens, get, gratis, groundling, hall, harbor, haven, hearth, hedge in, hem in, holding company, home, homefolks, homestead, horoscope, horoscopy, house in, houseboat, household, hut, impound, imprison, incarcerate, include, industry, installation, institution, issue, jail, joint-stock association, joint-stock company, kennel, kind, kindred, lake dwelling, lamasery, leaguer, legislative body, legislature, line, line of descent, lineage, little theater, living machine, lodge, lodgings, loft, magasin, mail-order house, male line, manor house, manse, mansion, market, mart, matriclan, menage, mew, mew up, monastery, mundane astrology, mundane house, music hall, nation, nativity, natural astrology, night spot, nightclub, nunnery, offspring, on the house, opera, opera house, operating company, orchestra, order, organization, outdoor theater, outfit, packaged house, parliament, parlor, parsonage, partnership, patriclan, pen, pen in, penthouse, people, phratry, phyle, phylum, pile, pit, planetary house, plant kingdom, playhouse, plunderbund, pocket, pool, post, prefab, prefabricated house, prefabrication, presidential palace, priorate, priory, public utility, put up, pyramid, quarantine, quarter, quarters, race, rail in, ranch house, rectory, residence, residency, retail store, roof, room, salon, saloon, seed, sept, shelter, shelter cabin, shield, shop, showboat, shrine, shut in, shut up, side, skyscraper, sod house, spear side, species, spectator, spindle side, split-level, sporting house, stable, stargazing, stateroom, stem, stirps, stock, stock company, store, strain, structure, studio, succession, supermarket, superstructure, surround, sweatshop, sword side, syndicate, take in, theater, theater-in-the-round, theatre, theatron, totem, tower, town house, trade association, trading post, tribe, trust, undertaking, utility, variety shop, variety store, vicarage, wall in, warehouse, wareroom, wholesale house, work site, work space, workbench, workhouse, working space, workplace, workroom, workshop, worktable, wrap, yard, yard up, zodiac
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