to house = to eat

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 23 13:51:41 UTC 2013

If I had to guess, I'd say it's informed by the sense of "house"
meaning "destroy or defeat completely." This 2002 Urban Dictionary
entry for "housed" may help:
A shockingly complete and enthusiastic consumption.
- Laura musy have been hungry, she totally housed that meat.
- There is nothing left, Jess housed it all.

Cf. other ways of expressing voracious eating, e.g. "go to town on."


On Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:30 PM, Grant Barrett <grantbarrett at> wrote:
> A listener to the radio show came across “to house” meaning “to eat.”
> I see “house” v. in HDAS has “to take for oneself; steal,” which is a possible connection, but it seems a more straightforward “house” ‘to cover, shelter, or contain’ is more likely the source.
> Has anybody done any digging on it?
> Here are a few uses I came across (in poor citation form, I’m afraid).
> The tortilla strips are such a wonderful invention.  So much easier when you are at a party and don't want to house a whole chip in front of other people. Yelp 4/13/2009
> I am about to house an entire Guinness Pie at our holiday lunch at O'Connor's, one of my favorite restaurant. 12/16/2009
> About to house a whole Alfredo pizza to my self. 4/11/2010
> I am about to house a whole pizza. i got goals! 1/29/2011
> I was starving so I wanted to house a burger and fries. Yelp review, 3/18/2013
> to eat quickly, or to do
> Man, I just housed so much Burger King.
> Urban Dictionary, 4/17 2013
> I am going to house a burger at Smith and Wollenskys. 6/9/2013
> Grant Barrett
> grantbarrett at
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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