from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A corridor or passageway in a building.
  • noun A large entrance room or vestibule in a building; a lobby.
  • noun A building for public gatherings or entertainments.
  • noun The large room in which such events are held.
  • noun A building used for the meetings, entertainments, or living quarters of a fraternity, sorority, church, or other social or religious organization.
  • noun A building belonging to a school, college, or university that provides classroom, dormitory, or dining facilities.
  • noun A large room in such a building.
  • noun The group of students using such a building.
  • noun Chiefly British A meal served in such a building.
  • noun The main house on a landed estate.
  • noun The castle or house of a medieval monarch or noble.
  • noun The principal room in such a castle or house, used for dining, entertaining, and sleeping.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A building, or a large room or compartment in a building, devoted to some public or common use: in various special applications. See below.
  • noun Specifically — In medieval palaces and castles, the main room, often the only living-room. Besides the hall, in very early times, even in the greatest houses, there were only a few sleeping-rooms, and not always these. In such a hall the lord and his family, retainers, servants, and visitors were all accommodated, and all public and household affairs were carried on. Later rooms more retired were added, but throughout the feudal period the hall remained the common center of activity. Westminster Hall in London was originally a part of the royal palace, where all the common life of the royal court was conducted and the king dispensed justice. This great room continued to be the principal seat of justice in England till 1820.
  • noun Hence — In Great Britain: A manor-house; the proprietor's residence on a large landed estate: also to some extent an American use, especially in the South.
  • noun The public or common room of a manor-house, serving as a general meeting-and reception-room, and in which justices' courts were formerly held. A mercantile building or room for the sale of particular articles or goods on account of their owners or producers; a place of sale or of business for a trade or gild: as, a hardware hall; Goldsmiths' Hall or Stationers' Hall in London.
  • noun An edifice in which courts of justice are held or legal archives are preserved: as, Westminster Hall; the Hall of Records in New York.
  • noun A room or building devoted to public business or entertainment, or to meetings of public or corporate bodies: as, a town hall; an association hall; a music-hall.
  • noun The main building of a college, and in some instances, as at Oxford and Cambridge in England, the specific name of a college. The number of colleges called halls (a term which, as well as house, was originally applied to the residence of the college scholars) in these universities, once considerable, is now small and diminishing.
  • noun In English colleges: The large room in which the students dine in common. Hence— The students' dinner.
  • noun In American colleges: A room or building appropriated to the meetings of a literary or other society; also, the society itself.
  • noun One of the buildings in which students sleep; a dormitory.
  • noun An entranceway or passageway in a house leading to or communicating with its different parts.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A building or room of considerable size and stateliness, used for public purposes.
  • noun The chief room in a castle or manor house, and in early times the only public room, serving as the place of gathering for the lord's family with the retainers and servants, also for cooking and eating. It was often contrasted with the bower, which was the private or sleeping apartment.
  • noun A vestibule, entrance room, etc., in the more elaborated buildings of later times.
  • noun Any corridor or passage in a building.
  • noun A name given to many manor houses because the magistrate's court was held in the hall of his mansion; a chief mansion house.
  • noun A college in an English university (at Oxford, an unendowed college).
  • noun The apartment in which English university students dine in common; hence, the dinner itself.
  • noun obsolete Cleared passageway in a crowd; -- formerly an exclamation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A corridor; a hallway.
  • noun A meeting room.
  • noun A manor house.
  • noun A building providing student accommodation at a university.
  • noun The principal room of a secular medieval building.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun United States child psychologist whose theories of child psychology strongly influenced educational psychology (1844-1924)
  • noun English writer whose novel about a lesbian relationship was banned in Britain for many years (1883-1943)
  • noun a large building used by a college or university for teaching or research
  • noun the large room of a manor or castle
  • noun United States explorer who led three expeditions to the Arctic (1821-1871)
  • noun a large building for meetings or entertainment
  • noun an interior passage or corridor onto which rooms open
  • noun a large entrance or reception room or area
  • noun a college or university building containing living quarters for students
  • noun United States chemist who developed an economical method of producing aluminum from bauxite (1863-1914)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English halle, large residence, from Old English heall; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]


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