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Definition of Household

(noun) One or more people who live together in a common space, share meals, and combine economic resources.

Examples of Household

Household Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: house·hold

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /hOUs-hohld/
  • British English – /hOUs-hohld/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈhaʊsˌ(h)oʊld/
  • British English – /ˈhaʊs(h)əʊld/

Usage Notes

Related Quotations

  • “Rearranging the home might be part of rethinking how heterosexual couples relate. And the three-piece suite is one example of how everyday objects might reinforce ideas about men as the head of the household. Besides the sofa there might be a large ‘dad’s chair’ given prime position in the living room and a smaller ‘mum’s chair’ in the corner, reflecting traditional ideas about the proper role of women as self-sacrificing and devoted to making men comfortable. These are rather flippant examples among what were serious attempts to think critically about relationships between women and men as relationships of power” (Worrel 2001:66–67).
  • “The members of the conjugal family in our urban society normally share a common basis of economic support in the form of money income, but this income is not derived from the co-operative efforts of the family as a unit – its principal source lies in the remuneration of occupational role performed by individual members of the family. Status in an occupational role is generally, however, specifically segregated from kinship status – a person holds a ‘job‘ as an individual, not by virtue of his status in a family. Among the occupational statuses of members of a family, if there is more than one, much the most important is that of the husband and father, not only because it is usually the primary source of family income, but also because it is the most important single basis of the status of the family in the community at large. To be the main ‘breadwinner’ of his family is a primary role of the normal adult man in our society. The corollary of this role is his far smaller participation than that of his wife in the internal affairs of the household. Consequently, ‘housekeeping’ and the care of children is still the primary functional content of the adult feminine role in the middle-classes, in the great majority of cases not one which in status or remuneration competes closely with those held by men of her own class. Hence there is a typically asymmetrical relation of the marriage pair to the occupational structure. This asymmetrical relation apparently both has exceedingly important positive functional significance and is at the same time an important source of strain in relation to the patterning of sex roles” (Parsons 1943:32–33).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Parsons, Talcott. 1943. “The Kinship System of the Contemporary United States.” American Anthropologist 45(1):22–38. doi:10.1525/aa.1943.45.1.02a00030.

Worell, Judith, ed. 2001. Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Works Consulted

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Holmes, Mary. 2009. Gender and Everyday Life. London: Routledge.

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Ritzer, George, ed. 2007. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Ritzer, George, and J. Michael Ryan, eds. 2011. The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Scott, Jacquelyn Thayer, Judith Treas, and Martin Richards, eds. 2007. The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Families. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Worell, Judith, ed. 2001. Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Cite the Definition of Household

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “household.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/household/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

household. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/household/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “household.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/household/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“household.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 23 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/household/>.