like a house afire

like a house afire

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

  1. a building in which people live; residence for human beings.
  2. a household.
  3. (often initial capital letter) a family, including ancestors and descendants: the great houses of France; the House of Hapsburg.
  4. a building for any purpose: a house of worship.
  5. a theater, concert hall, or auditorium: a vaudeville house.
  6. the audience of a theater or the like.
  7. a place of shelter for an animal, bird, etc.
  8. the building in which a legislative or official deliberative body meets.
  9. (initial capital letter) the body itself, especially of a bicameral legislature: the House of Representatives.
  10. a quorum of such a body.
  11. (often initial capital letter) a commercial establishment; business firm: the House of Rothschild; a publishing house.
  12. a gambling casino.
  13. the management of a commercial establishment or of a gambling casino: rules of the house.
  14. an advisory or deliberative group, especially in church or college affairs.
  15. a college in an English-type university.
  16. a residential hall in a college or school; dormitory.
  17. the members or residents of any such residential hall.
  18. Informal. a brothel; whorehouse.
  19. British. a variety of lotto or bingo played with paper and pencil, especially by soldiers as a gambling game.
  20. 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.
  21. Nautical. any enclosed shelter above the weather deck of a vessel: bridge house; deck house.
  22. 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/.

  1. to put or receive into a house, dwelling, or living quarters: More than 200 students were housed in the dormitory.
  2. to give shelter to; harbor; lodge: to house flood victims in schools.
  3. to provide with a place to work, study, or the like: This building houses our executive staff.
  4. to provide storage space for; be a receptacle for or repository of: The library houses 600,000 books.
  5. to remove from exposure; put in a safe place.
  6. Nautical.
    1. to stow securely.
    2. to lower (an upper mast) and make secure, as alongside the lower mast.
    3. to heave (an anchor) home.
  7. Carpentry.
    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/.

  1. to take shelter; dwell.


  1. of, relating to, or noting a house.
  2. for or suitable for a house: house paint.
  3. 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.
  4. served by a restaurant as its customary brand: the house wine.


  1. bring down the house, to call forth vigorous applause from an audience; be highly successful: The children’s performances brought down the house.
  2. clean house. clean(def 47).
  3. 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.
  4. keep house, to maintain a home; manage a household.
  5. like a house on fire/afire, very quickly; with energy or enthusiasm: The new product took off like a house on fire.
  6. on the house, as a gift from the management; free: Tonight the drinks are on the house.
  7. 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.

noun the House

  1. See House of Commons
  2. British informal the Stock Exchange

noun (haʊs) plural houses (ˈhaʊzɪz)

    1. a building used as a home; dwelling
    2. (as modifier)house dog
  1. the people present in a house, esp its usual occupants
    1. a building used for some specific purpose
    2. (in combination)a schoolhouse
  2. (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
  3. an official deliberative or legislative body, such as one chamber of a bicameral legislature
  4. a quorum in such a body (esp in the phrase make a house)
  5. a dwelling for a religious community
  6. 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
  7. (modifier) (of wine) sold unnamed by a restaurant, at a lower price than wines specified on the wine listthe house red
  8. the audience in a theatre or cinema
  9. an informal word for brothel
  10. a hall in which an official deliberative or legislative body meets
  11. See full house
  12. curling the 12-foot target circle around the tee
  13. nautical any structure or shelter on the weather deck of a vessel
  14. bring the house down theatre to win great applause
  15. house and home an emphatic form of home
  16. keep open house to be always ready to provide hospitality
  17. like a house on fire informal very well, quickly, or intensely
  18. on the house (usually of drinks) paid for by the management of the hotel, bar, etc
  19. put one’s house in order to settle or organize one’s affairs
  20. safe as houses British very secure

verb (haʊz)

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

n.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] v.“give shelter to,” Old English husian “to take into a house” (cognate with German hausen, Dutch huizen); see house (n.). Related: Housed; housing. see under get along, def. 1. 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
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