OxfordDictionaries has an entry for this -

to let - (Of a room or property) available for rent

But then how is that? Is it a verb phrase? How does it mean "available for rent?" Is it something to do with to let anyone come in the house? :)

  • OED's relevant definition (verb 1, sense 8a) is To grant the temporary possession and use of (land, buildings, rooms, movable property) to another in consideration of rent or hire. †Formerly also, to lend (money) at interest. The first citation was over 1000 years ago, when English was very different to today, so I don't think it's very meaningful to analyse the usage in terms of current meanings. The now-obsolete sense of let = To allow to remain; to leave behind; to abstain from taking away, using, consuming, occupying, etc. is more closely related. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:26

2 Answers 2


It means "available for rent" because "let" is a synonym for lease/rent, as FumbleFingers explains above. It's chiefly BrE (or at least not AmE) - see:

The "available" part is just understood - possibly because historically this phrasing is used in small newspaper ads and on signs, where shorter is better.


"to let" in this use has the meaning "to let someone have something". Other languages use clear compound verbs for this use. When written on a house, English uses the simplex verb as a misunderstanding is not possible. It can only mean: We let you have the use of this house if you pay a rent.

  • I'm that sense, I can use to let for anything I want to give off on rent. Say car. Isn't it?
    – Maulik V
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 2:38

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