[ set-l-muh nt ]
/ ˈsɛt l mənt /


Nearby words

  1. settle on,
  2. settle someone's hash,
  3. settle up,
  4. settle with,
  5. settled,
  6. settlement house,
  7. settlement houses,
  8. settlement option,
  9. settlement worker,
  10. settler

Origin of settlement

First recorded in 1620–30; settle1 + -ment

Related formsnon·set·tle·ment, nouno·ver·set·tle·ment, nounpre·set·tle·ment, nounre·set·tle·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for settlement houses


/ (ˈsɛtəlmənt) /


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 settlement houses



1620s, "act of fixing or steadying;" from settle (v.) + -ment. Meaning "a colony," especially a new one, "tract of country newly developed" is attested from 1690s; that of "small village on the frontier" is from 1827, American English. Sense of "payment of an account" is from 1729; legal sense "a settling of arrangements" (of divorce, property transfer, etc.) is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for settlement houses

settlement houses

Social and cultural centers established by reformers in slum areas of American cities during the 1890s and the early 1900s. Jane Addams founded the most famous settlement house, in Chicago. (See Progressive movement.)


Settlement houses attracted idealistic college graduates eager to learn how the poor lived and to improve the condition of the poor.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.