How did "hoose" come to be used to mean "house"?

Hoose: Hoose is a disease of sheep, cattle, goats, and swine caused by the presence of various species of nematodes of the genera Dictyocaulus, Metastrongylus, and Protostrongylus in the bronchial tubes or in the lungs. It is marked by cough, dyspnea, anorexia and constipation. Also called verminous bronchitis.apv


Hoose: verminous bronchitis of cattle, sheep, and goats caused by larval strongylid roundworms irritating the bronchial tubes and producing a dry hacking cough — called also husk, lungworm disease



Pronunciation of 'house' as 'hoose':

It is a remnant of Middle English.

In Great Vowel Shift, most of the vowels were changed in many accents/ dialects while some of the old vowel sounds were remained in some dialects.

/u:/ in some accents was changed to /aʊ/ but it did not change in some Northern dialects and Scottish English.

Northern English and Scots

The Great Vowel Shift affected other dialects as well as the standard English of southern England but in different ways. In Northern England, the shift did not operate on the long back vowels because they had undergone an earlier shift. Similarly, the Scots language in Scotland had a different vowel system before the Great Vowel Shift, as /oː/ had shifted to /øː/ in Early Scots. In the Scots equivalent of the Great Vowel Shift, the long vowels /iː/, /eː/ and /aː/ shifted to /ei/, /iː/ and /eː/ by the Middle Scots period and /uː/ remained unaffected.

The first step in the Great Vowel Shift in Northern and Southern English is shown in the table below. The Northern English developments of Middle English /iː, eː/ and /oː, uː/ were different from Southern English. In particular, the Northern English vowels /iː/ in bite, /eː/ in feet, and /oː/ in boot shifted, while the vowel /uː/ in house did not. These developments below fall under the label "older" to refer to Scots and a more conservative and increasingly rural Northern sound, while "younger" refers to a more mainstream Northern sound largely emerging just since the twentieth century.

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Etymology of 'hoose':

  • From Middle English hous, hus, from Old English hūs (“dwelling, shelter, house”), from Proto-Germanic *hūsą, of unknown origin.

  • From a dialectal spelling of house, from Middle English hous, hus, from Old English hūs (“dwelling, shelter, house”), from Proto-Germanic *hūsą (“house”). Compare Scots hoose.


Do not confuse 'hoose' (house) with the disease 'hoose'.

'Hoose' (disease) is pronounced as /huːz/ while 'hoose' (meaning house) is pronounced as /huːs/.

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Hoose, a Scottish variant of house:

HOUSE, n., v. Also hoose (Gen.Sc.)

  1. Combs.: (1) hoose-a-gate, adj., gossiping from door to door (Ork. 1957), used as a v. in vbl.n., hooseagettan, visiting each other's houses. Cf. (3); (2) hoosamenyie, -minya, hoose-menyie, an uproar, disturbance, quarrel (Ork. 1929 Marw.).

(History of the Scots language)

Hoose is present also in Northern England and as The Oxford History of English notes about the GVS: enter image description here

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There are two words involved in your question:

  1. House, in standard English, pronounced /haʊs/(rhymes with "mouse") = a dwelling place.

1a. Hoose, in the Scottish and Northeastern English dialects, pronounced /huːs/ (rhymes with "noose") = a dwelling place.

(There are many other spellings of dialect versions of "house", one of which is 19th century Irish English "hooze")

  1. Hoose or hooze, in in standard English, pronounced /huːz/ (rhymes with "whose") - a disease of sheep.
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  • 5
    I think you should provide sources and links to your answer. – user121863 May 3 at 9:17
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    @Hatchi: The source is myself - a native speaker who is conversant with both the word "house" and Scottish and Northeastern accents . (There are no technicalities here) As far as diseases of sheep are concerned - the OP gave that. ++The IPA is mine. – Greybeard May 3 at 23:41
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    Fine, but with all due respect, nobody is a “source” on ELU, apart from very rare exceptions. Sources need to be cited and links have to be provided. That’s how the site works. – user121863 May 4 at 6:05
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    @Hachi: Whereas I see your broader point. I have noted that in many, if not all, answers, there is a point at which stated facts are accepted without exterior authority - who could be a greater authority than you or I on how to say "house" or what it means? Or how the Scots say "house"? ++ I have also noted that the "very rare exceptions" are also challenged. – Greybeard May 4 at 8:30
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    This answer is fine, and the fanaticism with which some ELU users demand a "source" for each simple answer sucks. After all, @Hachi, you'd be surprised but the "sources" that inspired the dictionary entries whose inclusion you ask for were none else but native speakers of English, such ad Greybeard. – anemone May 4 at 22:23

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