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


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    @Lawrence, I have american friend who used it to mean house. but sure en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hoose here it also gives "house"
    – user382280
    May 3, 2020 at 8:05
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    Works also with other ou-words like mouse and about, giving us such delightful aphorisms as, There's a moose, loose, aboot this hoose! May 4, 2020 at 7:46
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    The word was also used in a Maynards Wine Gums sweet advert "There's juice loose aboot this hoose" youtube.com/watch?v=JaLsb7oHqCs May 4, 2020 at 7:59
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    Och, ye dinna ken aboot a hoose? May 4, 2020 at 8:14
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    @spikey_richie My mind went to this old classic: Crazy moose, loose in the hoose May 4, 2020 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


Pronunciation of 'house' as hoose:

The pronunciation /huːs/ is a remnant of Old English in some dialects of Present Day English. In Old English, 'house' was written hūs and it would've been pronounced /xuːs/1 or /huːs/.

In Middle English, it was pronounced /hs/ (hoose). The Great Vowel Shift changed the qualities if almost all the long vowels. It changed the original long vowel of 'house' /uː/ to a diphthong /aʊ/ in most dialects; however, as the Wiki article notes, the shift didn't operate on long back vowels in Northern English because they had undergone an earlier shift. That article also says that /uː/ remained unaffected.

That article goes on to say that the long vowels /iː/, /eː/, and /oː/ in Northern English shifted, but '/uː/ in house did not'.

Here's a chart illustrating the vowel shifts:

results of GVS

[Great Vowel Shift - Wikipedia]

Wiktionary says the spelling 'hoose' is dialectal.

There's also a disease 'hoose', though that is with a /z/ sound at the end.


  1. According to the Wikipedia article on Old English, [h, ç] were the allophones of the phoneme /x/ occurring word-initially and after a front vowel, respectively. Though I'm not entirely sure, that's why I've written both /xuːs/ and /huːs/.

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


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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    I think you should provide sources and links to your answer.
    – user 66974
    May 3, 2020 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, 2020 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.
    – user 66974
    May 4, 2020 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, 2020 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, 2020 at 22:23