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room definition


This page has 23 definitions of room in English, Afrikaans, and Dutch, Flemish. Room is a noun, verb, an adjective and adverb. Examples of how to use room in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Room and rõõm

English room definition


Etymology 1

From Middle English roum, from Old English rūm (room, space), from Proto-West Germanic *rūm (room), from Proto-Germanic *rūmą (room), from Proto-Indo-European *rowə- (free space).

Cognate with Low German Ruum, Dutch ruimte (space) and Dutch ruim (cargo load), German Raum (space, interior space), Danish rum (space, locality), Norwegian rom (space), Swedish rum (space, location), and also with Latin rūs (country, field, farm) through Indo-European. More at rural.

It is ostensibly an exception to the Great Vowel Shift, which otherwise would have produced the pronunciation /ɹaʊm/, but /aʊ/ does not occur before noncoronal consonants in Modern English native vocabulary.

A room (part of a building) in a hotel.


room (countable and uncountable, plural rooms)

  1. (now rare) Opportunity or scope (to do something). [from 9th c.]
  2. (uncountable) Space for something, or to carry out an activity. [from 10th c.]
    • 2010, Jonathan Franklin, The Guardian, 27 Aug 2010:
      He explains they have enough room to stand and lie down, points out the "little cup to brush our teeth", and the place where they pray.
  3. (archaic) A particular portion of space. [from 11th c.]
  4. (uncountable, figuratively) Sufficient space for or to do something. [from 15th c.]
    • 1716 March 13 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, “The Free-holder: No. 21. Friday, March 2. [1716.]”, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; [], volume IV, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], published 1721, OCLC 1056445272:
      There was no prince in the empire who had room for such an alliance.
    • 2010, Roger Bootle, The Telegraph, 12 Sep 2010:
      There are major disagreements within the Coalition and politicians always want to retain room for manoeuvre.
  5. (nautical) A space between the timbers of a ship's frame. [from 15th c.]
  6. (obsolete) Place; stead.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      For this purpose I have shown that no acquisitions of guilt can compensate the loss of that solid inward comfort of mind, which is the sure companion of innocence and virtue; nor can in the least balance the evil of that horror and anxiety which, in their room, guilt introduces into our bosoms.
  7. (countable) A separate part of a building, enclosed by walls, a floor and a ceiling. [from 15th c.]
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], Pride and Prejudice, volume (please specify |volume=I to III), London: [] [George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton [], OCLC 38659585:
      Miss Bingley made no answer, and soon afterwards she got up and walked about the room.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter X, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      He looked round the poor room, at the distempered walls, and the bad engravings in meretricious frames, the crinkly paper and wax flowers on the chiffonier; and he thought of a room like Father Bryan's, with panelling, with cut glass, with tulips in silver pots, such a room as he had hoped to have for his own.
  8. (countable, with possessive pronoun) (One's) bedroom.
    Go to your room!
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 6, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      She was so mad she wouldn't speak to me for quite a spell, but at last I coaxed her into going up to Miss Emmeline's room and fetching down a tintype of the missing Deacon man.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘No. I only opened the door a foot and put my head in. The street lamps shine into that room. I could see him. He was all right. Sleeping like a great grampus. Poor, poor chap.’
  9. (in the plural) A set of rooms inhabited by someone; one's lodgings. [from 17th c.]
  10. (usually in the singular, metonymically) The people in a room. [from 17th c.]
    The room was on its feet.
    He was good at reading rooms.
    It was fun to watch her work the room.
  11. (mining) An area for working in a coal mine. [from 17th c.]
  12. (caving) A portion of a cave that is wider than a passage. [from 17th c.]
  13. (Internet, countable) An IRC or chat room. [from 20th c.]
    Some users may not be able to access the AOL room.
  14. Place or position in society; office; rank; post, sometimes when vacated by its former occupant.
  15. A quantity of furniture sufficient to furnish one room.
    • 1985, August Wilson, Fences
      “I understand you need some furniture and can’t get no credit.” I liked to fell over. He say, “I’ll give you all the credit you want, but you got to pay the interest on it.” I told him, “Give me three rooms worth and charge whatever you want.”
Derived terms
Related terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


room (third-person singular simple present rooms, present participle rooming, simple past and past participle roomed)

  1. (intransitive) To reside, especially as a boarder or tenant.
    Doctor Watson roomed with Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street.
    • 1971 June 13, Paul Goldberger, “On the Champs — Elysees: ‘Hey, Aren't You the Girl Who Sits Across From Me in Abnormal Psych?’”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      But, then, running into the guy who rooms across the hall from me—in the Paris Metro?
  2. (transitive) To assign to a room; to allocate a room to.
    • 1988, Arthur Frederick Ide, AIDS hysteria, page 12:
      [] convinced (with no scientific evidence) that they would contract the dread disease by breathing the same air in which the patient was roomed, by touching the patient or even by changing the sheets of a patient's bed.
Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Middle English roum, rom, rum, from Old English rūm (roomy, spacious, ample, extensive, large, open, unencumbered, unoccupied, temporal, long, extended, great, liberal, unrestricted, unfettered, clear, loose, free from conditions, free from occupation, not restrained within due limits, lax, far-reaching, abundant, noble, august), from Proto-Germanic *rūmaz (roomy, spacious), from Proto-Indo-European *rewh₁- (free space). Cognate with Scots roum (spacious, roomy), Dutch ruim (roomy, spacious, wide), Danish rum (wide, spacious), German raum (wide), Icelandic rúmur (spacious).


room (comparative more room, superlative most room)

  1. (dialectal or obsolete) Wide; spacious; roomy.

Etymology 3

From Middle English rome, from Old English rūme (widely, spaciously, roomily, far and wide, so as to extend over a wide space, liberally, extensively, amply, abundantly, in a high degree, without restriction or encumbrance, without the pressure of care, light-heartedly, without obstruction, plainly, clearly, in detail). Cognate with Dutch ruim (amply, adverb).


room (comparative more room, superlative most room)

  1. (dialectal or obsolete) Far; at a distance; wide in space or extent.
  2. (nautical) Off from the wind.

Etymology 4


room (uncountable)

  1. Alternative form of roum (deep blue dye)

Further reading


Afrikaans room definition


From Dutch room, from Middle Dutch rôme, from Old Dutch *rōm, from Proto-Germanic *raumaz.



room (uncountable)

  1. cream

Dutch room definition


From Middle Dutch rôme, from Old Dutch *rōm, from Proto-West Germanic *raum, from Proto-Germanic *raumaz.



room m (uncountable)

  1. cream (of milk)

Derived terms