A house remains a house till it becomes a home; so goes a popular saying in reference to the connotations depicted by both words, which in essentiality mean the same.

A house is a structure that forms a dwelling for humans; it becomes a home to its occupants because it provides shelter, comfort, stability and security. A housing structure can range from a simple structure such as a single thatched roof hut to a large many-roomed mansion or the towering apartment complexes we see today dotting the landscapes of many modern cities.

A housing system that involves the social unit of a family or groups of families or individuals can be called a household.

The word ‘house’ has many connotations.

It is primarily derived from the Old English reference ‘hus’ meaning dwelling or shelter. In the early Proto-Semitic hieroglyphic times, the letter “B” was used as a symbol to depict a house; in various languages, it was called “bayt”, “beth” etc. before becoming “beta” in Greek.

When houses became more than just a dwelling or shelter from the elements, stylization, fashion, architecture, types of material and modern methods of construction began to be used to build houses to meet individual needs of those who wished to live in them. A typical home consists of living, dining, cooking, sleeping, toilet, pantry or utility etc. as well as some outside open spaces like a yard, verandah or portico to allow the house to have an inside-outside feel. Housing became an integral part of human lives, transcending the needs for a shelter or home and began to be viewed as investments for economical and monetary purposes, making it a business venture which came to be known as ‘real estate’. Houses are today built to suit local weather conditions using local materials known to withstand the vagaries of nature; earthquake-proof, tornado-proof, hurricane-proof, termite-proof, rust-proof are several terms used to denote use of materials to strengthen houses.

One of the most popular and iconic buildings in the world is the ‘White House’, the seat of American power in the western world. Since its rise to fame as the home to the serving President of the United States of America, the White House has become the subject of innumerable debates, discussions, films, songs and much more.

The word ‘house’ also denotes the government machinery, the cabinet of ministers or members of an elected parliament that jointly serve government business and functions. The ‘house’ also means a senate or a governing body or council that is entrusted with decision making powers that affect how a community of people or societies live in conformity with regulations.

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