What are the differences in meaning between house and home?

When do I use one or the other?

  • According to "Home," a poem by Edgar A. Guest, "It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home."
    – Skeptique
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 19:10

7 Answers 7


Generally, yes, house is the structure whereas home has an affective aspect. You can 'feel at home' or 'not feel at home' in a house. House is also a verb. You can be housed or re-housed.

  • 1
    We also talk of re-homing pets (e.g. cats & dogs) that need a new home, i.e. a place to live where they will be cared for.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 13:52
  • 2
    A house is a building. A home is a place.
    – Preston
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    And there are homing pigeons, and homing beacons. So "home" is a verb too, whose meaning is related to the noun "home". Also note that "house" as a verb is pronounced like "Houz", not "Hous". "Housing" also has the "z" sound, not the "s" sound.
    – swbarnes2
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 22:31
  • @swbarnes2 House pronounced with an "s" is also a verb used in American football slang. It means "to score" and comes from the phrase "take it to the house"
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 22:18

Home has a much more personal meaning. One could say "New York is my home", which implies they feel comfortable everywhere in New York. It also implies that the speaker spends most or all of their time there; My office is my home implies both I spend much of my time in my office as well as I am comfortable in my office. This is exemplified by the phrase Home is where the heart is.

House, on the other hand, is a literal. It is grammatically identical to apartment, condominium, and other nouns for a place of living.

Differences in usage include I will go home versus I will go house, in which go home is an expression meaning to return home. Saying I will go to my house is more natural than I will go to my home because one's house is a literal, defined place, but in contrast home is more nebulous.


House is just a structure which you utilize. You don't feel any sort of connection with the place. Home is a place where you feel like you truly belong and are happy in.


A house is a permanent structure built for people to live in. There are a number of other related meanings, but that's the primary one.

A person's home is the place where they normally live in. (Again, several related meanings also exist.) As it happens, a lot of people live in houses, so often a person's home will be their house. It could be something else, though, such as an apartment, a trailer, a boat, a tent or even a cardboard box under a bridge. None of those would normally be called a house in English.

The word "home" is almost always used as an attribute of a specific person (or of a group of people living together): "my home", "your home", "their home". It is possible to use the word "home" without specifying who it belongs to (as in "Hundreds of homes were destroyed by the hurricane."), but even then, it carries the connotation that somebody lives in the place so described. An empty, abandoned house would not normally be called a home.

The word "home" can also more generally refer to places larger than a single building. For example, I could describe the town or the country I live in (or where I feel I belong, even if I'm temporarily living somewhere else) as my home. The word "home" carries a very strong emotional connotation, a sense of a personal connection with a place, whereas "house" is mostly emotionally neutral.

Indeed, a desire to avoid that sense of emotional significance, in situations where it might be awkward and unwanted, may be one reason for the common substitution of "house" (or more generally "place") for "home" in colloquial use, as in "Let's go to my house and watch TV." Inviting someone to your house just feels a lot less emotionally significant than inviting them to your home.


There is a common phrase to make a house a home, which means to make it look friendly and lived-in and, really, personal. This is achieved by pictures on the wall, books on shelves, scatter cushions, or whatever signifies home to the residents.

In general, a house is a permanent physical structure, while a home is a place to live. Home could be a caravan or camper van or suchlike, which is not a house. Home could also be an apartment, which is also not really a house. And for some people, home is a hotel room.

This has all been covered in other answers, but it’s worth pointing out one additional fact: builders use the words differently. Builders are fond of saying that such-and-such an exciting development will bring 200 new homes to the town. A newbuilt house is clearly not a home by the definitions anyone else use, but builders generally say it is. This is probably a decision made in their marketing departments.

In other usages, home is contrasted with office. Shops sell “home and office furniture”. Windows software is available in home and office editions. The meaning of these two words in this context is basically personal and professional. The word house is not relevant in this context.

  • Australians as well as builders are fond of using home to mean house. Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 1:57

As they say....

Home is where the heart is

Home gives you a more personal connection to the place, whereas house is the more literal way of calling a place your abode or the place where you stay or reside.

  • yes... my bad...
    – kevinm
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 11:13
  • Articles are housed in a house, not in a home.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 10:11

Home - people stay/live there with some relationship(to be specific love/affection) between them.

ex. "welcome home", Nursing home - where people treated/have to be treated with love

House - Just a building which may become a home.

Nobody rent a home, but house.

  • Welcome to English Language & Usage. Your answer is pretty good, but could be made better if you could cite a reference or a good quote. On this subject, I'm pretty sure that there are numerous quotes that would help. Check Bartlett's. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 14:47

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