Definition of inn in English:



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

    ‘the Swan Inn’
    • ‘Sarod was a ruddy, old town, made up of mostly taverns and inns.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, with so many people flowing through, taverns, inns, and local merchants made quite the profit from the very happy and generous visitors.’
    • ‘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 Dublin pub, inn or tavern has a history which is as old as the city itself.’
    • ‘We walked to the tavern and inn that we had passed when we first entered the town.’
    • ‘Like today, London had many inns and alehouses throughout it and drinking was as popular then as it is today!’
    • ‘It was used as an inn or tavern in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They also frequented the same inns and alehouses, and the numerous clubs and societies that thrived in the ‘Enlightenment’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And so they worked in different inns and taverns.’
    • ‘The shops were closed, but the taverns and inns were filled with people.’
    • ‘The licensing of alehouses and inns was the responsibility of justices of the peace.’
    • ‘It was, of course, one of the many commonhouses they would pass by along the way - small inns with a tavern room or two.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After they woke and dressed they went back to the tavern section of the inn to get some breakfast.’
    • ‘We are fighting a rating and valuation system that discriminates against small businesses, privately owned hotels, inns and pubs.’
    tavern, bar, hostelry, taproom
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    1. 1.1historical A house providing accommodation, food, and drink, especially for travellers.
      • ‘Petitioners are therefore unlikely to be able to afford stay in hotels or inns while they do their rounds of visits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We have our choice of lovely motels, hotels, and inns.’
      • ‘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.