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[noun, adjective hous; verb houz] /noun, adjective haʊs; verb haʊz/
noun, plural houses
[hou-ziz] /ˈhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
a building in which people live; residence for human beings.
a household.
(often initial capital letter) a family, including ancestors and descendants:
the great houses of France; the House of Hapsburg.
a building for any purpose:
a house of worship.
a theater, concert hall, or auditorium:
a vaudeville house.
the audience of a theater or the like.
a place of shelter for an animal, bird, etc.
the building in which a legislative or official deliberative body meets.
(initial capital letter) the body itself, especially of a bicameral legislature:
the House of Representatives.
a quorum of such a body.
(often initial capital letter) a commercial establishment; business firm:
the House of Rothschild; a publishing house.
a gambling casino.
the management of a commercial establishment or of a gambling casino:
rules of the house.
an advisory or deliberative group, especially in church or college affairs.
a college in an English-type university.
a residential hall in a college or school; dormitory.
the members or residents of any such residential hall.
Informal. a brothel; whorehouse.
British. a variety of lotto or bingo played with paper and pencil, especially by soldiers as a gambling game.
Also called parish. Curling. the area enclosed by a circle 12 or 14 feet (3.7 or 4.2 meters) in diameter at each end of the rink, having the tee in the center.
Nautical. any enclosed shelter above the weather deck of a vessel:
bridge house; deck house.
Astrology. one of the 12 divisions of the celestial sphere, numbered counterclockwise from the point of the eastern horizon.
verb (used with object), housed [houzd] /haʊzd/ (Show IPA), housing
[hou-zing] /ˈhaʊ zɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
to put or receive into a house, dwelling, or living quarters:
More than 200 students were housed in the dormitory.
to give shelter to; harbor; lodge:
to house flood victims in schools.
to provide with a place to work, study, or the like:
This building houses our executive staff.
to provide storage space for; be a receptacle for or repository of:
The library houses 600,000 books.
to remove from exposure; put in a safe place.
  1. to stow securely.
  2. to lower (an upper mast) and make secure, as alongside the lower mast.
  3. to heave (an anchor) home.
  1. to fit the end or edge of (a board or the like) into a notch, hole, or groove.
  2. to form (a joint) between two pieces of wood by fitting the end or edge of one into a dado of the other.
verb (used without object), housed [houzd] /haʊzd/ (Show IPA), housing
[hou-zing] /ˈhaʊ zɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
to take shelter; dwell.
of, relating to, or noting a house.
for or suitable for a house:
house paint.
of or being a product made by or for a specific retailer and often sold under the store's own label:
You'll save money on the radio if you buy the house brand.
served by a restaurant as its customary brand:
the house wine.
bring down the house, to call forth vigorous applause from an audience; be highly successful:
The children's performances brought down the house.
clean house. clean (def 47).
dress the house, Theater.
  1. to fill a theater with many people admitted on free passes; paper the house.
  2. to arrange or space the seating of patrons in such a way as to make an audience appear larger or a theater or nightclub more crowded than it actually is.
keep house, to maintain a home; manage a household.
like a house on fire / afire, very quickly; with energy or enthusiasm:
The new product took off like a house on fire.
on the house, as a gift from the management; free:
Tonight the drinks are on the house.
put / set one's house in order,
  1. to settle one's affairs.
  2. to improve one's behavior or correct one's faults:
    It is easy to criticize others, but it would be better to put one's own house in order first.
Origin of house
before 900; (noun) Middle English h(o)us, Old English hūs; cognate with Dutch huis, Low German huus, Old Norse hūs, German Haus, Gothic -hūs (in gudhūs temple); (v.) Middle English housen, Old English hūsian, derivative of the noun
Related forms
subhouse, noun
well-housed, adjective
Can be confused
home, house (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. domicile. House, dwelling, residence, home are terms applied to a place to live in. Dwelling is now chiefly poetic, or used in legal or technical contexts, as in a lease or in the phrase multiple dwelling. Residence is characteristic of formal usage and often implies size and elegance of structure and surroundings: the private residence of the king. These two terms and house have always had reference to the structure to be lived in. Home has recently taken on this meaning and become practically equivalent to house, the new meaning tending to crowd out the older connotations of family ties and domestic comfort. See also hotel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for bring down the house


noun the House
(Brit, informal) the Stock Exchange


noun (haʊs) (pl) houses (ˈhaʊzɪz)
  1. a building used as a home; dwelling
  2. (as modifier): house dog
the people present in a house, esp its usual occupants
  1. a building used for some specific purpose
  2. (in combination): a schoolhouse
(often capital) a family line including ancestors and relatives, esp a noble one: the House of York
  1. a commercial company; firm: a publishing house
  2. (as modifier): house style, a house journal
an official deliberative or legislative body, such as one chamber of a bicameral legislature
a quorum in such a body (esp in the phrase make a house)
a dwelling for a religious community
(astrology) any of the 12 divisions of the zodiac See also planet (sense 3)
  1. any of several divisions, esp residential, of a large school
  2. (as modifier): house spirit
  1. a hotel, restaurant, bar, inn, club, etc, or the management of such an establishment
  2. (as modifier): house rules
  3. (in combination): steakhouse
(modifier) (of wine) sold unnamed by a restaurant, at a lower price than wines specified on the wine list: the house red
the audience in a theatre or cinema
an informal word for brothel
a hall in which an official deliberative or legislative body meets
(curling) the 12-foot target circle around the tee
(nautical) any structure or shelter on the weather deck of a vessel
(theatre) bring the house down, to win great applause
house and home, an emphatic form of home
keep open house, to be always ready to provide hospitality
(informal) like a house on fire, very well, quickly, or intensely
on the house, (usually of drinks) paid for by the management of the hotel, bar, etc
put one's house in order, to settle or organize one's affairs
(Brit) safe as houses, very secure
verb (haʊz)
(transitive) to provide with or serve as accommodation
to give or receive shelter or lodging
(transitive) to contain or cover, esp in order to protect
(transitive) to fit (a piece of wood) into a mortise, joint, etc
(transitive) (nautical)
  1. to secure or stow
  2. to secure (a topmast)
  3. to secure and stow (an anchor)
Derived Forms
houseless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English hūs; related to Old High German hūs, Gothic gudhūs temple, Old Norse hūs house
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bring down the house



Old English hus "dwelling, shelter, house," from Proto-Germanic *husan (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian hus, Dutch huis, German Haus), of unknown origin, perhaps connected to the root of hide (v.) [OED]. In Gothic only in gudhus "temple," literally "god-house;" the usual word for "house" in Gothic being razn.

Meaning "family, including ancestors and descendants, especially if noble" is from c.1000. The legislative sense (1540s) is transferred from the building in which the body meets. Meaning "audience in a theater" is from 1660s (transferred from the theater itself, cf. playhouse); as a dance club DJ music style, probably from the Warehouse, a Chicago nightclub where the style is said to have originated. Zodiac sense is first attested late 14c. To play house is from 1871; as suggestive of "have sex, shack up," 1968. House arrest first attested 1936. On the house "free" is from 1889.

And the Prophet Isaiah the sonne of Amos came to him, and saide vnto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not liue. [2 Kings xx:1, version of 1611]



"give shelter to," Old English husian "to take into a house" (cognate with German hausen, Dutch huizen); see house (n.). Related: Housed; housing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bring down the house

bring down the house

verb phrase

To score a resounding theatrical success: Old Man Dillinger strode onto the stage and brought down the house/ first heard on a Broadway stage in 1930, when she brought down the house singing ''I Got Rhythm'' (1840s+ Theater)



  1. A brothel; cathouse, whorehouse •Earlier occurrences, from 1726 on, have modifiers: of ill repute, of ill fame, of assignation, of accommodation, etc: A House is not a Home (1865+)
  2. The audience at a theater (1921+)
  3. A kind of dance music derived from soul, rock, and jazz, with a strong percussive beat, originally a black Chicago style •Comes in many varieties: deep house, garage, tribal, progressive, etc: to introduce Southern California to ''house,'' the technologically sophisticated dance music that has taken the country by storm/ For years, dance-club regulars have been expecting the boom-chucka-boom beat of house music to conquer pop (mid-1980s+)

Related Terms

barrelhouse, the big house, bring down the house, bughouse, call house, can house, cathouse, chippy house, crackhouse, doss, fleabag, flophouse, funny farm, grind-house, hash-house, juke house, notch-house, nuthouse, on the house, powerhouse, roughhouse, roundhouse, sporting house, stroke house, wheelhouse, whorehouse

[third sense fr the Warehouse, a Chicago club]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bring down the house

bring down the house

Also,bring the house down. Evoke tumultuous applause and cheers, as in Her solo brought the house down. This hyperbolic term suggests noise loud enough to pose a threat to the building—an unlikely occurrence. In the late 1800s, British music-hall comedians punned on it: when the audience greeted a joke with silence, they said, “Don't clap so hard; you'll bring down the house (it's a very old house).” [ Mid-1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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