open house

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open house (plural open houses)

  1. A house habitually kept open to callers.
    • 1839, Samuel Butler, The Hand-Book for Australian Emigrants: Being a Descriptive History of Australia, page 67,
      He keeps a kind of open house for all the respectable young men of the town who are staying in lodgings.
    • 1997, Les K. Wright, The Bear Book: Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture, page 227,
      The founding secretary and treasurer are a well-known gay couple retired to the arid Mal[l]ee (a kind of small eucalypt tree) country near Swan Reach, about an hour and a half drive from Adelaide, where they keep virtually open house for gay men.
  2. An event, often in one's home, at which there are few restrictions regarding who and how many may attend.
    • 2006, Geoff Porter, Little Bites of Australia, page 265,
      Over the year, we had been invited to many people′s homes, enjoying good food and warm hospitality. It had not been possible for us to reciprocate in every case, so we decided to invite everyone to an open house ‘barbie’-cum-buffet in order to say a mass farewell.
    • 2011, Kate Askew, Dot. Bomb Australia: How We Wrangled, Conned and Argie-Bargied Our Way into the New Digital Universe, page 44,
      Visitors to the Wests′ weekend open houses would often include Gore Vidal, David Niven, Vatican power brokers, ex-Queen Frederica of Greece and members of various superrich families, including the Vanderbilts, Guggenheims and von Furstenbergs.
  3. An event during which a facility or institution is open to the public for inspection or tour.
  4. (chiefly US, Canada and Australia) A period of time, usually several hours in a day, during which a house which is for sale is open for inspection or tour by interested parties.
    We′re holding an open house this weekend at 77 Parkway Road.
    • 2009, Peter Yong Huang, The Australian Dream and $1 Properties, page 133,
      I took my sign out of the boot and put it up that morning, then arranged the advertising and open house viewings as soon as I returned to my office.
    • 2011, Danielle Kennedy, Warren Jamison, How to List and Sell Real Estate, 4th Edition, page 155,
      Avoid boredom. Avoid starvation. Why hang around a homeowner′s refrigerator all day while sitting at a deadbeat open house? Do what they have done in Australia for years. Hold multiple open houses in one day.
  5. (US) A casual school event where the school invites parents or guardians to tour their child's school and meet the teachers.


  • (casual event for inspecting facility): open day