Definition of inn in English:



  • 1usually in names A pub, typically one in the country, in some cases providing accommodation.

    ‘the Swan Inn’
    • ‘Of course, with so many people flowing through, taverns, inns, and local merchants made quite the profit from the very happy and generous visitors.’
    • ‘The licensing of alehouses and inns was the responsibility of justices of the peace.’
    • ‘It was used as an inn or tavern in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘It was, of course, one of the many commonhouses they would pass by along the way - small inns with a tavern room or two.’
    • ‘Like today, London had many inns and alehouses throughout it and drinking was as popular then as it is today!’
    • ‘Most Dutch genre, however, depicted the life of the better-off, often in scenes of household life, but also in markets, barrack rooms, taverns, inns, and brothels.’
    • ‘There were inns and shops and taverns and stables on every side, everywhere she looked, and all her around her were the sounds of city life that she had not heard for nigh on ten years.’
    • ‘After they woke and dressed they went back to the tavern section of the inn to get some breakfast.’
    • ‘Sarod was a ruddy, old town, made up of mostly taverns and inns.’
    • ‘The Dublin pub, inn or tavern has a history which is as old as the city itself.’
    • ‘The shops were closed, but the taverns and inns were filled with people.’
    • ‘After arriving in Britain in the late 18th century, it quickly became popular in inns and taverns.’
    • ‘At night, luxuriate at charming inns, sampling Scotch whisky.’
    • ‘The game arrived in Britain in the late 18th Century from France (possibly via French prisoners of war) and quickly seems to have become popular in inns and taverns at the time.’
    • ‘Until the end of the nineteenth century the majority of darts thrown in inns and taverns in this country and utilised in fairgrounds were imported from France.’
    • ‘They also frequented the same inns and alehouses, and the numerous clubs and societies that thrived in the ‘Enlightenment’.’
    • ‘And so they worked in different inns and taverns.’
    • ‘We walked to the tavern and inn that we had passed when we first entered the town.’
    • ‘We are fighting a rating and valuation system that discriminates against small businesses, privately owned hotels, inns and pubs.’
    • ‘It was the time of night when families would just be settling down for dinner, and just before the taverns and inns would become filled with their nightly guests.’
    tavern, bar, hostelry, taproom
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    1. 1.1historical A house providing accommodation, food, and drink, especially for travellers.
      • ‘We have our choice of lovely motels, hotels, and inns.’
      • ‘Some hotels and inns offered suites which guests could rent by the hour.’
      • ‘The grand resort hotels, smaller inns, and boarding houses were concentrated on the region's many lakes, nowhere more so than on the two large lakes on the region's eastern edge.’
      • ‘Petitioners are therefore unlikely to be able to afford stay in hotels or inns while they do their rounds of visits.’
      • ‘There are no inns or hotels in the boundless grasslands, but one can always count on the Mongols for help.’
      tavern, bar, hostelry, taproom
      View synonyms


Old English (in the sense ‘dwelling place, lodging’): of Germanic origin; related to in. In Middle English the word was used to translate Latin hospitium (see hospice), denoting a house of residence for students: this sense is preserved in the names of some buildings formerly used for this purpose, notably Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn, two of the Inns of Court (see Inn of Court). The current sense dates from late Middle English.