Sunday, October 15, 2017

55 “House” Idioms

"He's really in the doghouse now." 
The integral nature and the ubiquity of houses in our culture has given rise to a number of idiomatic expressions that include the word house. This post lists such terms.

1. A house divided against itself cannot stand: A statement from a speech by Abraham Lincoln based on biblical scripture and alluding to the impending conflict between the North and the South over slavery
2. A house is not a home: A saying that differentiates a physical building from a dwelling identified with a family

3. A house of cards: a precarious situation, from the notion of an activity in which one or more people try to build a structure out of vertically placed playing cards without causing it to collapse
4. A plague on both your houses: A curse, based on a line from Romeo and Juliet, in which the speaker expresses disgust with both parties in a dispute
5. As safe as houses: In British English, a reference on the presumption that a house is secure, to satisfactory protection
6. Basket house: A music venue in which performers earn only money collected in a basket or other receptacle as donations
7. Big house: Slang for prison, or a reference to the main residence of an estate
8. Boardinghouse reach: An especially long reach across a table, alluding to the relaxed table manners of a boardinghouse, a lodging in which meals are provided
9. Bottom the house: A reference to thoroughly cleaning a place
10. Brick house: A sexually attractive woman, from the notion that she, on the analogy of a sturdy structure made of brick, is well built
11–12. Bring down the house/bring the house down: A reference to a performer being so entertaining that everyone in the venue in which the person is performing responds so enthusiastically that the performance is temporarily interrupted
13–15. Call house/house of ill fame/repute: Euphemisms for brothel
16. Clean house: A reference to thoroughly reforming an organization by replacing employees or members or changing policies or traditions
17. Crack house: Slang for a house from which crack cocaine is sold
18. Dream house: A house one considers ideal as a residence
19. Eat (one) out of house and home: Deplete all the food in a house
20–21. Fox guarding the henhouse/in the henhouse: A proverbial reference to the folly of allowing a person inimical to an organization to lead it or be involved in it
22. Full house: Said of an entertainment venue with the audience at capacity.

(A full house is also a term used in poker and means having all three of a kind and a pair... for example, three aces and 2 jacks)
23. Get (one’s) own house in order: An admonition to improve one’s own situation before criticizing another person for theirs
24. Get along like a house on fire: Become friends immediately upon meeting
25–26. Go around/round the houses: An expression, synonymous with “beating around the bush,” alluding to a person talking about trivial matters to avoid bringing up a sensitive topic
27. Halfway house: A residence for rehabilitating ex-convicts, drug addicts, or mental patients; by extension, a midpoint
28. Hash house: An inexpensive restaurant
29. Haunted house: A house thought to be inhabited by ghosts or spirits
30. House band: A musical ensemble hired to play regularly at a venue on its own, backing up visiting performers, or both
31. House music: A style of electronic dance music similar to disco but with few or no lyrics
32. House of correction: A euphemism for prison
33. House of many doors: Slang for prison
34. House poor: Able to afford housing costs but little else
35. House specialty: A menu item or other product that a business takes pride in offering
36. House wine: Any type of wine offered as a specialty of a restaurant or bar
37. Housebreak: Train a pet to use a special receptacle or go outside to urinate or defecate; by extension, make polite or submissive
38. Housewarming party: A celebration to commemorate moving into a new residence
39. In the house: Present (usually in the context of an entertainer being in a performing venue)
40. Keep house: Manage a household
41. Keep open house: Said of a residence in which visitors are always welcome
42. Lady of the house: A woman who manages a household
43. Like a house on fire: Quickly, from the notion that a burning house will swiftly become engulfed in flames
44. My house is your house: An expression of hospitality to make a guest feel welcome
45. On the house: Free (meaning that the house, or establishment, will on a special occasion pay for a product offered in the establishment)
46. Open house: An event in which visitors are welcome, either for a house party, a showing of a residence for sale, or an event in which members of the public are invited to visit an organization’s headquarters
47. Out of house and home: Evicted or otherwise deprived of shelter
48. Outhouse: An outdoor toilet
49. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones: A proverb that discourages hypocrisy; compare “put (one’s) own house in order”
50. Play house: Pretend to engage in activities associated with being part of a family (usually said of children role-playing domestic behaviors such as cooking and cleaning)
51. Put (one’s) house in order: Manage one’s affairs; contrast with “Put (one’s) own house in order”
52. Put (one’s) own house in order: An expression exhorting people to take care of their own affairs before criticizing how others handle theirs; compare “Those who own glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” and contrast with “Put (one’s) house in order”
53. Rock the house: Elicit an enthusiastic response from an audience
54. Shotgun house: Slang for a long, narrow house built with rooms in a straight line, from the notion that a shotgun shell could be fired through the front door and out the back door
55. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house: A reference to a dramatic performance that causes everyone in the audience in a performance venue to cry

A couple more...
Cat house: Same meaning as # 13-15 above.
He is really in the doghouse now. He forgot his wife's birthday!: He is in trouble with his wife. 

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