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For other meanings of the word House see House(disambiguation) .

A house in its most general sense is a human -built dwelling with enclosing walls and a roof . It provides shelter against precipitation , wind , heat , cold and intruding humans and animals . When occupied as a routine dwelling for humans, a house is called a home . People may be away from home most of the day for work and recreation , but typically are home at least for sleeping .

A house generally has at least one entrance, usually in the form of a door or a portal , and may have any number of windows or none atall.



Houses have been used as living quarters for humans since prehistoric times, when they first became used as an alternative to cave dwellings, and construction materials, styles and methods of construction have variedwildly over time.

Early European houses were mere single-roomed shacks without windows in which entire families and their cattle lived, keeping the house and each other relatively warm during winter.

Among the first examples (according to the estimated age of archaeological retrievals), notable are the palafittes .

Other forms

An alternative form of housing is an apartment (or flat), which is one ofseveral individual units on different levels separated by floors, walls and doors but combined to form a larger building under a shared roof. A house containing only two apartments is called a duplex . In England a flat on two floors is often called a maisonette . A mansion is a very large house, oftenvery ornate and expensive.


Forms of shelter simpler than a house include dugouts , tents (see also camp ), campers , huts , roofs without walls , or a structure with roof and partial walls, such as often at a bus stop (see picture there), and a gazebo .


Popular modern house construction techniques include light-frame construction in areas with access to supplies of wood, and adobe or sometimes rammed-earthconstruction in arid regions with scarce wood resources.

Alternative building structures have recently gained (or regained) popularity in recent years. Examples of these are cordwood construction , strawbaleconstruction , and geodesic domes .

Animal houses

Humans often build houses for domestic or wild animals, often resembling smaller versions of human domiciles. Familiar animalhouses built by humans include bird houses and dog houses ( kennels ), while domiciles for agricultural animals are more often called barns .

Usage in language

As a verb, to house (pronounced "howz") is to provide a routine locale for an object, a person or an organization.Historic or artistic artifacts, for example, are said to be housed in museums. A business may be housed in a storefront, or afamily may be housed in an apartment or a house. A collection of domiciles, either for persons, for organizations, for animals orfor objects, is often called housing. An individual person or a single object might also find housing in an appropriate domicile .

Community standards

Communities often establish standards, either by formal process or by custom, for adequate housing. Concepts related tohousing include:

  • housing shortages, which is a disproportionate number of people needing houses compared to the availabilityof structures.
  • substandard housing, which is the existence of housing structures that lack sufficient space, environmentalprotection, security or maintenance to conform to community standards.
  • homelessness , which refers to the condition of humanswho lack a regular abode.
  • billet, which refers to the usually military act of ordering civilians to share private homes or to surrender private homes to soldiers.Billet is sometimes used as a metaphor to describe any temporary housing situation.
  • council house or council flat, a house or flat which is provided bythe state for the use of the poor.
  • mortgage , a loan secured on a house.

See also



External link

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