[ wel-kuhm ]
See synonyms for: welcomewelcomedwelcomeswelcoming on Thesaurus.com

  1. (a word of kindly greeting, as to one whose arrival gives pleasure): Welcome, stranger!

  1. a kindly greeting or reception, as to one whose arrival gives pleasure: to give someone a warm welcome.

verb (used with object),wel·comed, wel·com·ing.
  1. to greet the arrival of (a person, guests, etc.) with pleasure or kindly courtesy.

  2. to receive or accept with pleasure; regard as pleasant or good: to welcome a change.

  1. to meet, accept, or receive (an action, challenge, person, etc.) in a specified, especially unfriendly, manner: They welcomed him with hisses and catcalls.

  1. gladly received, as one whose arrival gives pleasure: a welcome visitor.

  2. agreeable, as something arriving, occurring, or experienced: a welcome rest.

  1. given full right by the cordial consent of others: She is welcome to try it.

  2. without obligation for the courtesy, favor, or service received (used as a conventional response to expressions of thanks): You're quite welcome; I'm glad you like the gift.He thanked me, and I told him he was welcome.

Idioms about welcome

  1. wear out one's welcome, to make one's visits so frequent or of such long duration that they become offensive: Your cousins have long since worn out their welcome.

Origin of welcome

First recorded before 900; Middle English, from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse velkominn, equivalent to vel well1 + kominn come (past participle); replacing Old English wilcuma “one who is welcome,” equivalent to wil- welcome (see will2) + cuma “comer”

word story For welcome

The seemingly timeless phrase “You are welcome” —usually shortened to “You're welcome” —as a response to “Thank you” is actually quite recent. The phrase does not appear to have been used with any regularity until the 19th century. By the early 20th century, however, it was well established in the United States (less so in Britain) as the customary and polite way to acknowledge thanks for a favor or service, recommended in etiquette guides and taught to children along with “Please” and “Thank you.”
But the phrase “You're welcome" has always existed alongside a host of other possible responses to a thank-you, ranging from a casual “Sure” or “Any time” to more elaborate expressions like “You're quite welcome” or “My pleasure; I'm happy to help.” There is even a reciprocal thank-you: Thank you for coming to my party. Thank you for inviting me. Toward the end of the 20th century, especially among younger people and in very informal situations, it became popular to respond with a breezy “No problem”— a phrase that, though well received in some situations, can come across as flippant and dismissive of the other person's expression of gratitude. Many different forms of expression can be appropriate for acknowledging thanks for a favor or service in different circumstances; but among the varied expressions, the one that is always gracious remains the classic “You're welcome.”

Other words from welcome

  • wel·come·ness, noun
  • wel·com·er, noun
  • pre·wel·come, noun, verb (used with object), pre·wel·comed, pre·wel·com·ing.
  • un·wel·come, adjective
  • un·wel·comed, adjective
  • un·wel·com·ing, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use welcome in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for welcome


/ (ˈwɛlkəm) /

  1. gladly and cordially received or admitted: a welcome guest

  2. bringing pleasure or gratitude: a welcome gift

  1. freely permitted or invited: you are welcome to call

  2. under no obligation (only in such phrases as you're welcome or he's welcome, as conventional responses to thanks)

sentence substitute
  1. an expression of cordial greeting, esp to a person whose arrival is desired or pleasing

  1. the act of greeting or receiving a person or thing; reception: the new theory had a cool welcome

  2. wear out one's welcome to come more often or stay longer than is acceptable or pleasing

  1. to greet the arrival of (visitors, guests, etc) cordially or gladly

  2. to receive or accept, esp gladly

Origin of welcome

C12: changed (through influence of well 1) from Old English wilcuma (agent noun referring to a welcome guest), wilcume (a greeting of welcome), from wil will ² + cuman to come

Derived forms of welcome

  • welcomely, adverb
  • welcomeness, noun
  • welcomer, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with welcome


see warm welcome; wear out one's welcome; you're welcome.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.