Origin of housing

First recorded in 1250–1300, housing is from the Middle English word husing. See house, -ing1

Synonyms for housing




a covering of cloth for the back and flanks of a horse or other animal, for protection or ornament.
housings. the trappings on a horse.

Origin of housing

1635–45; compare earlier house, Middle English hous(e), houc(e) in same sense < Old French houce < Germanic *hulfti- (compare Medieval Latin hultia), akin to Middle Dutch hulfte cover for bow and arrow, Middle High German hulft covering; -ing1 added by association with house, housing1


[noun, adjective hous; verb houz]

noun, plural hous·es [hou-ziz] /ˈhaʊ zɪz/.

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/, hous·ing [hou-zing] /ˈhaʊ zɪŋ/.

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/, hous·ing [hou-zing] /ˈhaʊ zɪŋ/.

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 formssub·house, nounwell-housed, adjective
Can be confusedhome house (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for house

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for housing

Contemporary Examples of housing

Historical Examples of housing

  • The towns can wait a little for their housing, the country cannot.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • Drastic improvements in housing, feeding, and sanitation in the towns themselves.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • From the housing question to the dearth of servants we feel its baneful effects.

    The Curse of Education

    Harold E. Gorst

  • Carefully, he settled it into its housing and bolted it down.

  • The City Council said they wanted the housing property for park purposes.

British Dictionary definitions for housing




  1. houses or dwellings collectively
  2. (as modifier)a housing problem
the act of providing with accommodation
a hole, recess, groove, or slot made in one wooden member to receive another
a part designed to shelter, cover, contain, or support a component, such as a bearing, or a mechanism, such as a pump or wheela bearing housing; a motor housing; a wheel housing
another word for houseline




(often plural) archaic another word for trappings (def. 2)

Word Origin for housing

C14: from Old French houce covering, of Germanic origin


noun the House

British informal the Stock Exchange


noun (haʊs) plural 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 onethe House of York
  1. a commercial company; firma 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 zodiacSee also planet (def. 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 listthe 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
bring the house down theatre to win great applause
house and home an emphatic form of home
keep open house to be always ready to provide hospitality
like a house on fire informal 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
safe as houses British very secure

verb (haʊz)

(tr) to provide with or serve as accommodation
to give or receive shelter or lodging
(tr) to contain or cover, esp in order to protect
(tr) to fit (a piece of wood) into a mortise, joint, etc
(tr) nautical
  1. to secure or stow
  2. to secure (a topmast)
  3. to secure and stow (an anchor)
Derived Formshouseless, adjective

Word Origin for house

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

Word Origin and History for housing

"buildings, lodgings," early 14c., husing, from the root of house (n.).


"ornamental covering," c.1300, houce "covering for the back and flanks of a horse," from Old French houce "mantle, horse-blanket" (Modern French housse), from Medieval Latin hultia "protective covering," from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hulfti (cf. Middle Dutch hulfte "pocket for bow and arrow," Middle High German hulft "covering"), from PIE root *kel- "to cover, conceal" (see cell). Sense of "case or enclosure for machine or part" is first recorded 1882.



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

Idioms and Phrases with housing


In addition to the idiom beginning with house

  • house of cards

also see:

  • boardinghouse reach
  • bring down the house
  • clean house
  • eat someone out of house and home
  • get on (like a house afire)
  • keep house
  • on the house
  • open house
  • people who live in glass houses
  • put one's house in order
  • safe as houses
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.