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In architecture, a hall is fundamentally a relatively large space enclosed by a roof and walls. In the Iron Age, a mead hall was such a simple building and was the residence of a lord and his retainers. Later, rooms were partitioned from it, so that today the hall of a house is the space inside the front door from which the rooms are reached.


  • Deriving from the above, a hall is often the term used to designate a British or Irish country house.
  • In later medieval Europe, the main room of a castle or manor house was the great hall.
  • Where the hall inside the front door of a house is elongated, it may be called a passage, corridor, or hallway.
  • In a medieval building, the hall was where the fire was kept. With time, its functions as dormitory, kitchen, parlour and so on were divided off to separate rooms or, in the case of the kitchen, a separate building.

On the same principle:


  • A hall is also a building consisting largely of a principal room, that is rented out for meetings and social affairs. It may be privately or government-owned, such as a function hall owned by one company used for weddings and cotillions (organized and run by the same company on a contractual basis) or a community hall available for rent to anyone.

Following a line of similar development:

  • In office buildings and larger buildings (theatres, cinemas etc), the entrance hall is generally known as the foyer (the French for fire-place). The atrium, a name sometimes used in public buildings for the entrance hall, was the central courtyard of a Roman house.

Derived from the residential meanings of the word:

  • Hall is also a surname of people, one of whose ancestors lived in a hall as distinct from one such as David M. Cote, whose ancestor will have lived in a cote, a much humbler place shared with the livestock.

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