[ lahy-brer-ee, -bruh-ree, -bree ]
/ ˈlaɪˌbrɛr i, -brə ri, -bri /

noun, plural li·brar·ies.

Origin of library

1300–50; Middle English libraire < Middle French librairie < Medieval Latin librāria, noun use of feminine of Latin librārius (adj.) of books, equivalent to lib(e)r book + -ārius -ary
Related formsin·ter·li·brar·y, adjective

Pronunciation note

Library, with one r -sound following close upon another, is particularly vulnerable to the process of dissimilation—the tendency for neighboring like sounds to become unlike, or for one of them to disappear altogether. The pronunciation [lahy-brer-ee] /ˈlaɪ brɛr i/, therefore, while still the most common, is frequently reduced by educated speakers, both in the U.S. and in England, to the dissimilated [lahy-buh-ree] /ˈlaɪ bə ri/ or [lahy-bree] /ˈlaɪ bri/. A third dissimilated form [lahy-ber-ee] /ˈlaɪ bɛr i/ is more likely to be heard from less educated or very young speakers, and is often criticized. See colonel, February, governor. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for library

British Dictionary definitions for library


/ (ˈlaɪbrərɪ) /

noun plural -braries

a room or set of rooms where books and other literary materials are kept
a collection of literary materials, films, CDs, children's toys, etc, kept for borrowing or reference
the building or institution that houses such a collectiona public library
a set of books published as a series, often in a similar format
computing a collection of standard programs and subroutines for immediate use, usually stored on disk or some other storage device
a collection of specific items for reference or checking againsta library of genetic material

Word Origin for library

C14: from Old French librairie, from Medieval Latin librāris, n use of Latin librārius relating to books, from liber book
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 library



place for books, late 14c., from Anglo-French librarie, Old French librairie "collection of books" (14c.), noun use of adj. librarius "concerning books," from Latin librarium "chest for books," from liber (genitive libri) "book, paper, parchment," originally "the inner bark of trees," probably a derivative of PIE root *leub(h)- "to strip, to peel" (see leaf). The equivalent word in most Romance languages now means "bookseller's shop." Old English had bochord, literally "book hord."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper