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[round-hous] /ˈraʊndˌhaʊs/
noun, plural roundhouses
[round-hou-ziz] /ˈraʊndˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
a building for the servicing and repair of locomotives, built around a turntable in the form of some part of a circle.
Nautical. a cabin on the after part of a quarterdeck.
Slang. a punch in which the arm is typically brought straight out to the side or rear of the body and in which the fist describes an exaggerated circular motion.
Also called round trip. Pinochle. a meld of one king and queen of each suit.
Origin of roundhouse
1580-90; round1 + house Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for roundhouse
  • Antibiotics have spoiled us with their power to knock bacteria to the canvas with a satisfying roundhouse punch.
  • Railroad artifacts and displays are located near the historic roundhouse.
  • The building once served as the roundhouse and shop for the national railroad system, no longer in operation.
  • The park contains an interpretive center, steam locomotives and cars, a roundhouse and such historic structures as a machine shop.
  • Cimarron developed into a real railroad town, complete with a roundhouse and station facilities.
  • The picture appears to have been taken from a roof of another building showing the inside of the roundhouse.
  • Turntables give locomotives access to the roundhouse and allow them to turn around.
  • The yard's roundhouse, machine shop, and coal bunker are no longer extant.
British Dictionary definitions for roundhouse


a circular building in which railway locomotives are serviced or housed, radial tracks being fed by a central turntable
(boxing, slang)
  1. a swinging punch or style of punching
  2. (as modifier): a roundhouse style
(pinochle, US) a meld of all four kings and queens
an obsolete word for jail
(obsolete) a cabin on the quarterdeck of a sailing ship
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 roundhouse

also round-house, "lock-up, place of detention," 1580s, from Dutch rondhuis "guardhouse." Meaning "circular shed for locomotives with a turntable in the center" is from 1856. Meaning "blow delivered with a wide sweep of the arm" is perhaps extended from "round building for circular machinery."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for roundhouse


  1. : He swung a roundhouse left
  2. : a roundhouse pitch
  1. A long, looping punch to the head (1920+ Prizefighting)
  2. A sweeping curve-ball (1910+ Baseball)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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