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[wel-kuh m] /ˈwɛl kəm/
(a word of kindly greeting, as to one whose arrival gives pleasure):
Welcome, stranger!
a kindly greeting or reception, as to one whose arrival gives pleasure:
to give someone a warm welcome.
verb (used with object), welcomed, welcoming.
to greet the arrival of (a person, guests, etc.) with pleasure or kindly courtesy.
to receive or accept with pleasure; regard as pleasant or good:
to welcome a change.
to meet, accept, or receive (an action, challenge, person, etc.) in a specified, especially unfriendly, manner:
They welcomed him with hisses and catcalls.
gladly received, as one whose arrival gives pleasure:
a welcome visitor.
agreeable, as something arriving, occurring, or experienced:
a welcome rest.
given full right by the cordial consent of others:
She is welcome to try it.
without obligation for the courtesy or favor received (used as a conventional response to expressions of thanks):
You're quite welcome.
wear out one's welcome, to make one's visits so frequent or of such long duration that they become offensive:
Your cousins have long since worn out their welcome.
Origin of welcome
before 900; Middle English < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse velkominn, equivalent to vel well1 + kominn come (past participle); replacing Old English wilcuma one who is welcome, equivalent to wil- welcome (see will2) + cuma comer
Related forms
welcomeness, noun
welcomer, noun
prewelcome, noun, verb (used with object), prewelcomed, prewelcoming.
unwelcome, adjective
unwelcomed, adjective
unwelcoming, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for welcome
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When Atlee arrived at Bruton Street, the welcome that met him was almost cordial.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • "You are welcome to your opinion," returned Robert, indifferently.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • They are welcome if they bring us death, that supreme solace of the afflicted.

    The Trail-Hunter Gustave Aimard
  • You are welcome to all the comfort you can find in your present situation.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • They are welcome to their opinion; but they must not ask me to insult him by holding it.

    The Real Shelley, Vol. I (of 2) John Cordy Jeaffreson
British Dictionary definitions for welcome


gladly and cordially received or admitted: a welcome guest
bringing pleasure or gratitude: a welcome gift
freely permitted or invited: you are welcome to call
under no obligation (only in such phrases as you're welcome or he's welcome, as conventional responses to thanks)
sentence substitute
an expression of cordial greeting, esp to a person whose arrival is desired or pleasing
the act of greeting or receiving a person or thing; reception: the new theory had a cool welcome
wear out one's welcome, to come more often or stay longer than is acceptable or pleasing
verb (transitive)
to greet the arrival of (visitors, guests, etc) cordially or gladly
to receive or accept, esp gladly
Derived Forms
welcomely, adverb
welcomeness, noun
welcomer, noun
Word Origin
C12: changed (through influence of well1) from Old English wilcuma (agent noun referring to a welcome guest), wilcume (a greeting of welcome), from wilwill² + cuman to come
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 welcome

Old English wilcuma, exclamation of kindly greeting, from earlier wilcuma (n.) "welcome guest," literally "one whose coming is in accord with another's will," from willa "pleasure, desire, choice" (see will (v.)) + cuma "guest," related to cuman (see come). Cf. Old High German willicomo, Middle Dutch wellecome. Meaning "entertainment or public reception as a greeting" is recorded from 1530. You're welcome as a formulaic response to thank you is attested from 1907. Welcome mat first recorded 1951; welcome wagon is attested from 1961.


Old English wilcumian, from wilcuma (see welcome (n.)). Related: Welcomed; welcoming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with welcome
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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