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[pent-hous] /ˈpɛntˌhaʊs/
noun, plural penthouses
[pent-hou-ziz] /ˈpɛntˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
an apartment or dwelling on the roof of a building, usually set back from the outer walls.
any specially designed apartment on an upper floor, especially the top floor, of a building.
a structure on a roof for housing elevator machinery, a water tank, etc.
Also called pent, pentice
[pen-tis] /ˈpɛn tɪs/ (Show IPA)
. a shed with a sloping roof, or a sloping roof, projecting from a wall or the side of a building, as to shelter a door.
any rooflike shelter or overhanging part.
Court Tennis. a corridor having a slanted roof and projecting from three walls of the court.
Origin of penthouse
1520-30; alteration (by folk etymology) of Middle English pentis < Old French apentiz, equivalent to apent past participle of apendre to hang against (see appendant) + -iz (French -is) < Vulgar Latin *-ātīcium, noun use of neuter of *-ātīcius, equivalent to Latin -āt(us) -ate1 + -īcius adj. suffix
Related forms
penthouselike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for penthouse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One of the Professor's penthouse brows raised itself about half an inch, but he did not speak.

    Halcyone Elinor Glyn
  • This formed a species of penthouse, which they placed in the moat.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • They saw the face dimly in the half-light, with unexpressive dark patches under the penthouse brows.

  • The arrows aimed at them rebounded from the roof of the penthouse.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • Over the penthouse thus formed a piece of gauze is placed, and the cage is complete.

British Dictionary definitions for penthouse


a flat or maisonette built onto the top floor or roof of a block of flats
a construction on the roof of a building, esp one used to house machinery
a shed built against a building, esp one that has a sloping roof
(real tennis) the roofed corridor that runs along three sides of the court
Word Origin
C14 pentis (later penthouse, by folk etymology), from Old French apentis, from Late Latin appendicium appendage, from Latin appendere to hang from; see appendix
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for penthouse

pendize, early 14c., from Anglo-French pentiz, a shortening of Old French apentis "attached building, appendage," from Medieval Latin appendicium, from Latin appendere "to hang" (see append). Modern spelling is from c.1530, by folk etymology influence of Middle French pente "slope," and English house (the meaning at that time was "attached building with a sloping roof or awning"). Originally a simple structure (Middle English homilies describe Jesus' birthplace in the manger as a "penthouse"); meaning "apartment or small house built on the roof of a skyscraper" first recorded 1921, from which time dates its association with luxury.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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