noun, plural pent·hous·es [pent-hou-ziz] /ˈpɛntˌhaʊ zɪz/.
  1. an apartment or dwelling on the roof of a building, usually set back from the outer walls.
  2. any specially designed apartment on an upper floor, especially the top floor, of a building.
  3. a structure on a roof for housing elevator machinery, a water tank, etc.
  4. Also called pent, pen·tice [pen-tis] /ˈpɛn tɪs/. a shed with a sloping roof, or a sloping roof, projecting from a wall or the side of a building, as to shelter a door.
  5. any rooflike shelter or overhanging part.
  6. shed roof.
  7. Court Tennis. a corridor having a slanted roof and projecting from three walls of the court.

Origin of penthouse

1520–30; alteration (by folk etymology) of Middle English pentis < Old French apentiz, equivalent to apent past participle of apendre to hang against (see appendant) + -iz (French -is) < Vulgar Latin *-ātīcium, noun use of neuter of *-ātīcius, equivalent to Latin -āt(us) -ate1 + -īcius adj. suffix
Related formspent·house·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for pentice


  1. a flat or maisonette built onto the top floor or roof of a block of flats
  2. a construction on the roof of a building, esp one used to house machinery
  3. a shed built against a building, esp one that has a sloping roof
  4. real tennis the roofed corridor that runs along three sides of the court

Word Origin for penthouse

C14 pentis (later penthouse, by folk etymology), from Old French apentis, from Late Latin appendicium appendage, from Latin appendere to hang from; see appendix
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 pentice



pendize, early 14c., from Anglo-French pentiz, a shortening of Old French apentis "attached building, appendage," from Medieval Latin appendicium, from Latin appendere "to hang" (see append). Modern spelling is from c.1530, by folk etymology influence of Middle French pente "slope," and English house (the meaning at that time was "attached building with a sloping roof or awning"). Originally a simple structure (Middle English homilies describe Jesus' birthplace in the manger as a "penthouse"); meaning "apartment or small house built on the roof of a skyscraper" first recorded 1921, from which time dates its association with luxury.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper