public house

1. Brit. a tavern.
2. an inn or hostelry.
[1565-75]
Syn. See hotel.

* * *

or pub

Establishment that serves alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, especially in Britain.

Under English common law, inns and taverns were declared public houses responsible for the well-being of travelers. They were expected to receive all travelers in reasonable condition who were willing to pay for food, drink, and lodging. In Tudor England, certain innkeepers were obliged by royal act to maintain stables; others served as unofficial postmasters. The early public houses were identified by simple signs that featured creatures such as lions, dolphins, or swans. In the 18th century, the word Arms was added to many pub names to indicate that the establishment was under the protection of a noble family. Though British public houses were traditionally owned and operated by independent licensed proprietors, by the early 20th century many were owned or associated with brewery companies.

* * *

byname  Pub,  

      in Britain (United Kingdom) and regions of British influence, an establishment providing alcoholic liquors to be consumed on the premises. English common law early imposed social responsibilities for the well-being of travelers upon the inns and taverns, declaring them to be public houses which must receive all travelers in reasonable condition who were willing to pay the price for food, drink, and lodging.

      In Tudor England (1485–1603), selected innkeepers were required by a royal act to maintain stables; in addition, some innkeepers acted as unofficial postmasters and kept stables for the royal post. In the mid-1600s, some public houses even issued unofficial coins which the innkeepers guaranteed to redeem in the realm's currency.

      By the 1800s, many of these establishments were divided internally to segregate the various classes of customers. Public houses—inns or taverns—were considered socially superior to alehouses, beerhouses, and ginshops.

      The early inns or taverns were identified by simple signs, such as lions, dolphins, or black swans. Many colourful pub names (e.g., Bag o'Nails, Goat and Compass, and Elephant and Castle) are actually corrupted forms of historical, ecclesiastical, or other proper phrases and titles (e.g., “Bacchanals,” “Great God Encompassing,” and “Infanta de Castile,” respectively). In the 18th century, the word Arms was appended to many pub names, indicating that the establishment was under the protection of a particular noble family, although some heraldic signs were references to the original ownership of the land on which the inn or tavern stood. Some 200 of the old coaching and posting inns, including a few that date back more than 400 years, are still operating in England and Wales under the management of Trust House companies, groups begun in the early 20th century in order to prevent the old inns from becoming merely local taverns.

      Although public houses were traditionally owned and operated by licensed victuallers or publicans, by the early part of the 20th century many of them were owned or otherwise connected to a comparatively small number of brewery companies.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Public house — Public Pub lic, a. [L. publicus, poblicus, fr. populus people: cf. F. public. See {People}.] 1. Of or pertaining to the people; belonging to the people; relating to, or affecting, a nation, state, or community; opposed to {private}; as, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • public-house — [pyblikaws] n. m. ÉTYM. 1786; mot angl., de public « public » et house « maison ». ❖ ♦ Anglic. Débit de boisson public, en Grande Bretagne. ⇒ Pub …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • public house — public houses N COUNT A public house is the same as a pub. [BRIT, FORMAL] …   English dictionary

  • public house — n BrE formal a ↑pub …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • public house — noun count BRITISH FORMAL a PUB …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • public house — n. 1. an inn or tavern 2. Brit. an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic drinks for consumption on the premises and often serving meals as well …   English World dictionary

  • Public house — Not to be confused with Public housing. A thatched country pub, The Williams Arms, near Braunton, North Devon, England …   Wikipedia

  • Public house — Pub (lieu) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pub. The Eagle and Child, bien connu à Oxford, était le pub préféré des Inklings …   Wikipédia en Français

  • public house — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms public house : singular public house plural public houses British formal a pub …   English dictionary

  • public house — Synonyms and related words: alehouse, bar, barrel house, barroom, beer garden, beer parlor, bistro, blind tiger, boardinghouse, cabaret, cafe, cocktail lounge, dive, dorm, dormitory, doss house, dramshop, drinkery, drinking saloon, fleabag,… …   Moby Thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.