[n., adj. hous; v. houz]
House, Edward Mandell, 1858-1938, American political figure, adviser to President Wilson, b. Houston. Active in Texas politics, he was (1882-92) campaign manager and adviser to Gov. James Hogg and his successors. He was known as "Colonel" House because of a Texas state office he held. He met Woodrow Wilson in 1911 and helped him secure (1912) the Democratic presidential nomination. After Wilson's election House became the President's closest adviser. He often served as the President's liaison with members of the administration and important men in the country. Greatly interested in foreign affairs, he was sent to Europe in 1914 in an attempt to prevent the outbreak of war and again in 1915 to propose a peace conference. After U.S. entry into World War I, he was U.S. representative at the conference for coordinating Allied activities. House also gathered data for the peace conference, was American delegate to negotiate the armistice, and was a member of the U.S. peace commission. He helped to draft the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations. More conciliatory and realistic than Wilson at the peace conference, his friendship with Wilson ended in 1919 because of conflict on the conduct of the negotiations. House and Charles Seymour edited the documentary What Really Happened at Paris (1921). Some of his papers, selected and edited by Seymour as The Intimate Papers of Colonel House (2 vol., 1926-28), are a valuable historical source.

See A. D. H. Smith, The Real Colonel House (1918) and Mr. House of Texas (1940); A. MacPhail, Three Persons (1929); A. L. George and J. George, Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House (1956, repr. 1964).

or social settlement or community centre

Neighbourhood social-welfare agency. The staff of a settlement house may sponsor clubs, classes, athletic teams, and interest groups; they may employ such specialists as vocational counselors and caseworkers. The settlement movement began with the founding of Toynbee Hall in London in 1884 by Samuel Augustus Barnett (1844–1913). It spread to the U.S. in the late 19th century with the establishment of such institutions as Chicago's Hull House (founded by Jane Addams). Many countries now have similar institutions. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, U.S. settlement houses were active among the masses of new immigrants and worked for reform legislation such as workers' compensation and child-labour laws.

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or pub

Establishment that serves alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, especially in Britain. Under English common law, inns and taverns were declared public houses responsible for the well-being of travelers. They were expected to receive all travelers in reasonable condition who were willing to pay for food, drink, and lodging. In Tudor England, certain innkeepers were obliged by royal act to maintain stables; others served as unofficial postmasters. The early public houses were identified by simple signs that featured creatures such as lions, dolphins, or swans. In the 18th century, the word Arms was added to many pub names to indicate that the establishment was under the protection of a noble family. Though British public houses were traditionally owned and operated by independent licensed proprietors, by the early 20th century many were owned or associated with brewery companies.

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Traditional communal dwelling of the Iroquois Indians until the 19th century. The longhouse was a rectangular box built out of poles, with doors at each end and saplings stretched over the top to form the roof, the whole structure being covered with bark. It was about 20 ft (6 m) wide and could be more than 200 ft (60 m) in length, depending on the number of families living in it. Down the middle of the house were fires, which were shared by families on either side. The term is also applied today to an Iroquois building designated as church and meeting hall, though its form is entirely different. Seealso pole construction.

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or English sparrow

House sparrow (Passer domesticus)

One of the world's best-known and most abundant small birds (Passer domesticus, family Passeridae or Ploceidae). It lives in towns and on farms worldwide, having accompanied Europeans from its original home in Eurasia and northern Africa. Introduced into North America in 1852, it spread across the continent within a century. It is about 6 in. (15 cm) long and buffy-brown; the male has a black bib. House sparrows breed nearly year-round in warm regions. Seealso sparrow.

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Plant adapted for growing indoors, commonly a member of a species that flourishes naturally only in warm climates. Two factors contribute to the success of the huge number of species grown as houseplants: they must be easy to care for, and they must be able to tolerate the fairly low levels of light and humidity found in most homes. Houseplants are selected for their foliage or flowers or both. Aspects of a houseplant's environment that must be managed include light, temperature and humidity, soil, water, and nutrients.

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Common mouse species (Mus musculus, family Muridae), the mouse most often encountered in buildings. The house mouse has been distributed by humans from Eurasia to all inhabited areas of the world and usually seeks shelter and food in human dwellings. Brown or gray, it grows up to 8 in. (20 cm) long, including a 4-in. (10-cm) tail. It consumes almost anything edible, even sampling soap, paste, and glue. It matures quickly and is ready to mate two to three months after birth. In warm areas or heated buildings, it breeds throughout the year.

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Game of chance played with cards having a grid of numbered squares corresponding to numbered balls drawn at random. When a number on the card is drawn, the players cover that number (should they have it); the game is won by covering a certain number of squares in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). Cards are purchased and proceeds are placed into a common “pot”; winning cards are awarded a portion of the pot. Wildly popular in the mid 20th century, bingo has in recent decades suffered a decline in America but has increased in popularity in other parts of the world. The earliest name for bingo—lotto—was recorded in Britain in 1776; the game is sometimes called keno in the U.S.

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Younger branch of the Plantagenet dynasty, descended from Edward III's fifth son, Edmund of Langley (1341–1402), 1st duke of York. In the 15th century the Yorkists took the throne from the house of Lancaster; the Yorkist kings were Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III. The Wars of the Roses between the two houses continued until Richard's death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1453. The marriage of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, to the daughter of Edward IV, merged the house of York with the house of Tudor.

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Official residence of the U.S. president, in Washington, D.C. It has been the home of every president since John Adams. In 1791 James Hoban (1762–1831) won the commission to build the presidential residence with his plan for a Georgian mansion in the style of Andrea Palladio. The structure, to be built of gray sandstone, was to have more than 100 rooms. The British burned it in 1814, but it was rebuilt and enlarged under Hoban's direction. In the 1820s, Hoban added eastern and western terraces as well as a semicircular southern portico and a colonnaded northern portico. The later addition of the West Wing (1902) and East Wing (1942) provided additional office space. Theodore Roosevelt adopted “White House” as the building's official name in 1902. Its public areas are toured by about 1.5 million people every year.

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Historic dynasty of Europe and the ruling house of Italy (1861–1946). Its founder was Umberto I the Whitehanded (d. 1048?), who held the county of Savoy and areas east of the Rhône River and south of Lake Geneva. His medieval successors, including Amadeus VI, added territory in the western Alps where France, Italy, and Switzerland converge. In 1416 the house was raised to ducal status in the Holy Roman Empire, after which it declined until the late 16th century. Although under French domination in the 17th century, the house under Victor Amadeus II acquired territory in northeastern Italy and attained the royal h1, first of the kingdom of Sicily (1713), which he exchanged for Sardinia (1720). The house was powerful in the Risorgimento, and under the kings Victor Emmanuel I, Victor Emmanuel II, and Charles Albert it contributed to the 19th-century unification of Italy. It then lost its prominence, and the monarchs Umberto I and Victor Emmanuel III served mainly as figureheads until the vote for a republic in 1946 ended Savoy rule.

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(1683) In English history, an alleged Whig conspiracy to assassinate Charles II because of his pro-Catholic policies. The plot drew its name from Rye House at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, near the road where Charles was supposed to be killed as he traveled from a horse meet. The king's unexpected early departure supposedly foiled the plot, which was later revealed by an informer. The facts remained cloudy, but the main plotters included the duke of Monmouth, Lord William Russell, Algernon Sidney (1622–83), and Sir Thomas Armstrong. The last three were tried, convicted of treason, and beheaded.

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Upper house of Britain's bicameral Parliament. From the 13th and 14th centuries it was the house of the aristocracy. Until 1999 its membership included clergy, hereditary peers, life peers (peers appointed by the prime minister since 1958), and the judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Britain's final court of appeal). Though it predates the House of Commons and dominated it for centuries, its power has gradually diminished. Its power to affect revenue bills was constrained by the Parliament Act of 1911, and in 1949 its power to delay by more than a year the enactment of any bill passed by the Commons was revoked. In 1999 the hereditary peers lost their right to sit in the House of Lords, though an interim reform retains their voice in a more limited fashion. The body's chief value has been to provide additional consideration to bills that may be not be well formulated.

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House, 1920

(born July 26, 1858, Houston, Texas, U.S.—died March 28, 1938, New York, N.Y.) U.S. diplomat. An independently wealthy businessman, he served as an adviser to Texas governors (1892–1904), one of whom gave him the honorary h1 of colonel. He was active in the presidential campaign of Woodrow Wilson, later becoming his adviser (1912–19). He was the president's chief liaison with the Allies during World War I, and he helped draft the Fourteen Points, which Wilson proposed as the basis for peace at the end of the war. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and he worked closely with Wilson in drafting the covenant of the League of Nations.

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House, 1920

(born July 26, 1858, Houston, Texas, U.S.—died March 28, 1938, New York, N.Y.) U.S. diplomat. An independently wealthy businessman, he served as an adviser to Texas governors (1892–1904), one of whom gave him the honorary h1 of colonel. He was active in the presidential campaign of Woodrow Wilson, later becoming his adviser (1912–19). He was the president's chief liaison with the Allies during World War I, and he helped draft the Fourteen Points, which Wilson proposed as the basis for peace at the end of the war. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and he worked closely with Wilson in drafting the covenant of the League of Nations.

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Popularly elected lower house of the bicameral British Parliament. Passage of legislation is its primary function. Because it alone has the power to levy taxes and allocate expenditures, it is Britain's chief legislative authority. It originated in the late 13th century, when landholders and other property owners began sending representatives to Parliament to present grievances and petitions to the king and to accept commitments to the payment of taxes. It was the less powerful house until 1911, when the Reform Bill of that year gave it the power to override the House of Lords. The party with the greatest representation in the Commons forms the government, and the prime minister chooses the cabinet from the party's members. There are 646 members, elected from single-member districts. Seealso Canadian Parliament; parliamentary democracy.

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House generally refers to a shelter or building that is a dwelling or place for habitation by human beings. The term includes many kinds of dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to high-rise apartment buildings. However, the word can also be used as a verb ("to house"), and can have adjectival formations as well. In some contexts, "house" may mean the same as dwelling, residence, home, abode, accommodation, housing, lodging, among other meanings.

The social unit that lives in a house is known as a household. Most commonly, a household is a family unit of some kind, though households can be other social groups, such as single persons, or groups of unrelated individuals. Settled agrarian and industrial societies are composed of household units living permanently in housing of various types, according to a variety of forms of land tenure. English-speaking people generally call any building they routinely occupy "home". Many people leave their houses during the day for work and recreation but typically return to them to sleep or for other activities.


The oldest house in the world ia approximately from 10,000 B.C. and was made of mammoth bones, found at Mezhirich near Kiev in Ukraine. It was probably covered with mammoth hides. The house was discovered in 1965 by a farmer digging a new basement six feet below the ground.

Architect Norbert Schoenauer, in his book 6,000 Years of Housing, identifies three major categories of types of housing: the "Pre-Urban" house, the "Oriental Urban" house, and the "Occidental Urban" house.

Types of Pre-Urban houses include temporary dwellings such as the Inuit igloo, semi-permanent dwellings such as the pueblo, and permanent dwellings such as the New England homestead.

"Oriental Urban" houses include houses of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and traditional urban houses in China, India, and Islamic cities.

"Occidental Urban" houses include medieval urban houses, the Renaissance town house, and the houses, tenements and apartments of the 19th and 20th centuries.



The developed world in general features three basic types of house that have their own ground-level entry and private open space, and usually on a separately titled parcel of land:

In addition, there are various forms of attached housing where a number of dwelling units are co-located within the same structure, which share a ground-level entry and may or may not have any private open space, such as apartments (a.k.a. flats) of various scales. Another type of housing is movable, such as houseboats, caravans, and trailer homes.

In the United Kingdom, 27% of the population live in terraced houses and 32% in semi-detached houses, as of 2002. In the United States as of 2000, 61.4% of people live in detached houses and 5.6% in semi-detached houses, 26% in row houses or apartments, and 7% in mobile homes.


Archaeologists have a particular interest in house shape: they see the transition over time from round huts to rectangular houses as a significant advance in optimizing the use of space, and associate it with the growth of the idea of a personal area (see personal space).


Some houses transcend the basic functionality of providing "a roof over one's head" or of serving as a family "hearth and home". When a house becomes a display-case for wealth and/or fashion and/or conspicuous consumption, we may speak of a "great house". The residence of a feudal lord or of a ruler may require defensive structures and thus turn into a fort or a castle. The house of a monarch may come to house courtiers and officers as well as the royal family: this sort of house may become a palace. Moreover, in time the lord or monarch may wish to retreat to a more personal or simple space such as a villa, a hunting lodge or a dacha. Compare the popularity of the holiday house or cottage, also known as a crib.

In contrast to a relatively upper class or modern trend to ownership of multiple houses, much of human history shows the importance of multi-purpose houses. Thus the house long served as the traditional place of work (the original cottage industry site or "in-house" small-scale manufacturing workshop) or of commerce (featuring, for example, a ground floor "shop-front" shop or counter or office, with living space above). During the Industrial Revolution there was a separation of manufacturing and banking from the house, though to this day some shopkeepers continue (or have returned) to live "over the shop".

Inside the house


Ideally, architects of houses design rooms to meet the needs of the people who will live in the house. Such designing, known as "interior design", has become a popular subject in universities. Feng shui, originally a Chinese method of situating houses according to such factors as sunlight and micro-climates, has recently expanded its scope to address the design of interior spaces with a view to promoting harmonious effects on the people living inside the house. Feng shui can also mean the 'aura' in or around a dwelling. Compare the real-estate sales concept of "indoor-outdoor flow".

The square footage of a house in the United States reports the area of "living space", excluding the garage and other non-living spaces. The "square meters" figure of a house in Europe reports the area of the walls enclosing the home, and thus includes any attached garage and non-living spaces.


Many houses have several rooms with specialized functions. These may include a living/eating area, a sleeping area, and (if suitable facilities and services exist) washing and lavatory areas. In traditional agriculture-oriented societies, domestic animals such as chickens or larger livestock (like cattle) often share part of the house with human beings. Most conventional modern houses will at least contain a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (or kitchen area), and a living room. A typical "foursquare house" (as pictured) occurred commonly in the early history of the United States of America, with a staircase in the center of the house, surrounded by four rooms, and connected to other sections of the house (including in more recent eras a garage).

The names of parts of a house often echo the names of parts of other buildings, but could typically include:

* bath / shower
* toilet

*Fireplace (for warmth during winter; generally not found in warmer climates)


In the United States, modern house-construction techniques include light-frame construction (in areas with access to supplies of wood) and adobe or sometimes rammed-earth construction (in arid regions with scarce wood-resources). Some areas use brick almost exclusively, and quarried stone has long provided walling. To some extent, aluminum and steel have displaced some traditional building materials. Increasingly popular alternative construction materials include insulating concrete forms (foam forms filled with concrete), structural insulated panels (foam panels faced with oriented strand board or fiber cement), and light-gauge steel framing and heavy-gauge steel framing.

More generally, people often build houses out of the nearest available material, and often tradition and/or culture govern construction-materials, so whole towns, areas, counties or even states/countries may be built out of one main type of material. For example, a large fraction of American houses use wood, while most British and many European houses utilize stone or brick.

In the 1900s, some house designers started using prefabrication. Sears, Roebuck & Co. first marketed their Houses by Mail to the general public in 1908. Prefab techniques became popular after World War II. First small inside rooms framing, then later, whole walls were prefabricated and carried to the construction site. The original impetus was to use the labor force inside a shelter during inclement weather. More recently builders have begun to collaborate with structural engineers who use computers and finite element analysis to design prefabricated steel-framed homes with known resistance to high wind-loads and seismic forces. These newer products provide labor savings, more consistent quality, and possibly accelerated construction processes.

Lesser-used construction methods have gained (or regained) popularity in recent years. Though not in wide use, these methods frequently appeal to homeowners who may become actively involved in the construction process. They include:


In the developed world, energy-conservation has grown in importance in house-design. Housing produces a major proportion of carbon emissions (30% of the total in the UK, for example).

Development of a number of low-energy building types and techniques continues. They include the zero-energy house, the passive solar house, superinsulated and houses built to the Passivhaus standard.

Earthquake protection

One tool of earthquake engineering is base isolation which is increasingly used for earthquake protection. Base isolation is a collection of structural elements of a building that should substantially decouple it from the shaking ground thus protecting the building's integrity and enhancing its seismic performance. This technology, which is a kind of seismic vibration control, can be applied both to a newly designed building and to seismic upgrading of existing structures. Normally, excavations are made around the building and the building is separated from the foundations. Steel or reinforced concrete beams replace the connections to the foundations, while under these, the isolating pads, or base isolators, replace the material removed. While the base isolation tends to restrict transmission of the ground motion to the building, it also keeps the building positioned properly over the foundation. Careful attention to detail is required where the building interfaces with the ground, especially at entrances, stairways and ramps, to ensure sufficient relative motion of those structural elements.

Legal issues

Buildings with historical importance have restrictions.

United Kingdom

New houses in the UK are not covered by the Sale of Goods Act. When purchasing a new house the buyer has less legal protection than when buying a new car. New houses in the UK may be covered by a NHBC guarantee but some people feel that it would be more useful to put new houses on the same legal footing as other products.

United States and Canada

In the US and Canada, many new houses are built in housing tracts, which provide homeowners a sense of "belonging" and the feeling they have "made the best use" of their money. However, these houses are often built as cheaply and quickly as possible by large builders seeking to maximize profits. Many environmental health issues are ignored or minimized in the construction of these structures. In one case in Benicia, California, a housing tract was built over an old landfill. Home buyers were never told, and only found out when some began having reactions to high levels of lead and chromium.

Identifying houses

With the growth of dense settlement, humans designed ways of identifying houses and/or parcels of land. Individual houses sometimes acquire proper names; and those names may acquire in their turn considerable emotional connotations: see for example the house of Howards End or the castle of Brideshead Revisited. A more systematic and general approach to identifying houses may use various methods of house numbering.

Animal houses

Humans often build "houses" for domestic or wild animals, often resembling smaller versions of human domiciles. Familiar animal houses built by humans include bird-houses, hen-houses/chicken-coops and doghouses (kennels); while housed agricultural animals more often live in barns and stables. However, human interest in building houses for animals does not stop at the domestic pet. People build bat-houses, nesting-sites for wild ducks and other birds, bee houses, giraffe houses, kangaroo houses, worm houses, hermit crab houses, as well as shelters for many other animals.


Forms of (relatively) simple shelter may include:

Houses and symbolism

Houses may express the circumstances or opinions of their builders or their inhabitants. Thus a vast and elaborate house may serve as a sign of conspicuous wealth, whereas a low-profile house built of recycled materials may indicate support of energy conservation.

Houses of particular historical significance (former residences of the famous, for example, or even just very old houses) may gain a protected status in town planning as examples of built heritage and/or of streetscape values. Plaques may mark such structures.

House-ownership provides a common measure of prosperity in economics. Contrast the importance of house-destruction, tent dwelling and house rebuilding in the wake of many natural disasters.

Peter Olshavsky's House for the Dance of Death provides a 'pataphysical variation on the house.


The house occurs as a rare charge in heraldry.

See also


External links

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