All six terms refer to areas which are directly behind the door of a home and lead to other rooms.

What's the difference?

Also, are entries and entryways rooms or not?

  • 1
    Please demonstrate use of a dictionary
    – James K
    Commented May 20 at 19:59
  • 3
    What context do you want to use the word? Do you have any particular dialect in mind? What is the actual problem you want to solve. details please.
    – James K
    Commented May 20 at 20:03
  • You could have a look at English SE: this is the same question, and there's a little discussion here. They indicate some ways in which the words differ and might help improve your question. (The issue of whether an entrance hall is a room is a matter of opinion.)
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 21 at 0:19
  • (Sigh) Already asked by OP on ELU. Mudroom and foyer are explained there. Commented May 21 at 8:25
  • 1
    @Idk29 It sounds like you're pretty frustrated, which is usually a good indication that your question needs more details so that people can give you a more helpful answer. From your question alone, it's hard to understand what you are confused about specifically. Some information that would help: do you have any example sentences or situations that you're wondering about specifically? If not, you could make some up and ask if you are correct in your understanding. Which region are you concerned with? You mention that you've looked at dictionary definitions, what are you still finding confusing Commented May 21 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


These words are all at least partial synonyms of each other. While there are some broadly agreed upon distinctions, much of the distinction is nuanced and depends on the particular regional and cultural setting. Some of these terms are so similar, that in many cases it simply comes down to personal preference. In general, a native speaker will understand you regardless of which term you use.

Let's take a look at the definitions from Marriam-Webster.


Entryway : a passage for entrance

In AmE, this is a commonly used term to mean a small area inside a house or building that is used for entering (e.g., it might have a place to put shoes, coats, or umbrellas), but which is not divided from the broader room with walls. It is not a room in and of itself.


Entry : a place of entrance: such as a: VESTIBULE, PASSAGE b: DOOR, GATE

The word entry as a noun in this way is not commonly used in AmE.

Entrance hall

Entrance hall : a hall located just inside or near an entrance to a building

My understanding is that there is a split in BrE and AmE on the definition of hall or hallway. [TODO citation? find other question] In AmE, a hallway is not a room itself, but a corridor connecting two or more rooms. In AmE, the term hall feels large and grand and would mean a big room in a public or semi-public space, such as a dining hall at a university. The term entrance hall is not popular in AmE.


Vestibule : a passage, hall, or room between the outer door and the interior of a building : LOBBY

A vestibule is specifically a space between others. For example, American shopping centers often have two sets of doors - an outer set and an inner set, separated by 1-2 meters (4-6 feet) of space. The double doors help with temperature control and with preventing birds/etc. from getting into a building, since many shopping centers have automatic doors. The space between the two sets could be called the vestibule. I would not use vestibule to describe a room or area in a house, unless it had two consecutive doors and the space served no other purpose.


Foyer : an anteroom or lobby especially of a theater also: an entrance hallway : VESTIBULE

Foyer is a popular word in some dialects of AmE, but not all. It tends to be used more to refer to "fancy" public spaces or rooms in upper class homes (or homes that are trying to model an upper class experience). A foyer can classify as a room by itself or could be part of a larger room - it depends on how divided it is by the rest of the space. The usage of this word specifically implies that the space is highly decorative, impressively large, or perhaps historical.


Mudroom : a room in a house designed especially for the shedding of dirty or wet footwear and clothing and located typically off the kitchen or in the basement

A mudroom is perhaps the opposite of a foyer in that it is specifically not fancy. This is a common term in some areas of the US, depending on architectural styles. It is a room.

Other Synonyms

Here are some additional words which, while you didn't ask about, may be used in a similar context:

  • Front hall - this is the term that I hear the most in the northeast US when it comes to homes. It's a hallway, not a room, that you are in when you step through the front door. There is often space for shoes and coats, and there may be a bench. It connects to the kitchen, dining room, or stairs.

  • Lobby - A lobby, in American English, is specifically part of a public or semi-public space. You would not hear an American describe part of a private house as a lobby. In a movie theater, the lobby is the area where you can buy tickets and refreshments. In an office building or apartment complex, a lobby has an information or security desk, a sitting area, and usually a directory of floors. A lobby is usually a room.

  • Reception/ Reception area - Similar to lobby, a reception area is the part of a public building where you can find an information desk or assistance. A reception area is usually not a room, but a portion of a lobby, foyer, or maybe vestibule.

  • Lobbies are usually found in buildings (like skyscrapers or multi-storey ones) but I wouldn't call it a room. It's just a large open space with elevator banks at the back. OR Lobbies are also found in large offices such as lawyers' and doctors' offices. But generally, I agree with your answer.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 4 at 21:48

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