Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A room on the top floor of a house, typically under a pitched roof; an attic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An attic or semi-finished room just beneath the roof of a house.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A turret; a watchtower.
  • n. That part of a house which is on the upper floor, immediately under or within the roof; an attic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A corruption of gallet.
  • n. . A lookout; a watch-tower; a turret or battlement.
  • n. That part of a house which is on the upper floor, immediately under the roof; an attic story; especially, the uppermost floor of a house under a roof that slopes down at the sides or at one side.
  • n. The color of rotten wood.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. floor consisting of open space at the top of a house just below roof; often used for storage

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French garite, watchtower, from garir, to defend, of Germanic origin; see wer-4 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He still inhabited the upper room, which he calls a garret; it would not seem that the alteration in his status, assistant now and no longer apprentice, had increased his social conveniences.

    Henrik Ibsen

  • LOL - after writing and posting the first comment, I had this incredibly vivid image of a mad scientist writer woman, wild haired, hunkered down with laptop in garret by moonlight, readying for the evening's writing, hooking up an IV to the arm of the Universe itself.

    Branded

  • "The well-worn cliche of the writer starving in the garret is so much more picturesque than the bitter reality of living in poverty with a child."

    Boing Boing: May 19, 2002 - May 25, 2002 Archives

  • But after experiencing the uneasiness which Lord Chesterfield's fallacious patronage made him feel, he dismissed the word garret from the sad group, and in all the subsequent editions the line stands

    Life Of Johnson

  • But after experiencing the uneasiness which Lord Chesterfield's fallacious patronage made him feel, he dismissed the word garret from the sad group, and in all the subsequent editions the line stands --

    Boswell's Life of Johnson Abridged and edited, with an introduction by Charles Grosvenor Osgood

  • Chesterfield’s fallacious patronage made him feel, he dismissed the word garret from the sad group, and in all the subsequent editions the line stands

    The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D.

  • Here at home I have a little room I call the garret, and I sit with my laptop in my Ekorne chair (great for backs!) and ottoman.

    Chasing the Wistfuls Away...

  • At twenty, though obliged to trudge on foot from town to town, and country to country, paying for a supper and a bed by a tune on the flute, everything pleased, everything was good; a truckle bed in a garret was a conch of down, and the homely fare of the peasant a feast fit for an epicure.

    The Life of Oliver Goldsmith

  • Mr. Downey changes the subject, by saying the foreigners in the garret are a great nuisance, and disturb him of his rest at night.

    An Outcast or, Virtue and Faith

  • The garret was a big, shadowy place, extending over the whole house, and was lumber room, play place and general refuge, all in one.

    The S. W. F. Club

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Comments

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  • *sips chamomile tea*

    Thanks, rolig. Words to keep in mind on a day when even more people in my department are laid off.

    P.S. I do hope it was poultry. I can't imagine the alternative. Well, I can, which is the problem.

    January 16, 2009

  • So-named presumably because of the cock's penchant for crowing from the upper story of the barn - the triangular bit right at the top.

    January 16, 2009

  • Perhaps it was a place originally intended for keeping poultry?

    January 16, 2009

  • Wait ... cockloft?!

    January 16, 2009

  • Well, I overstated the problem of course. It could be a New Dawn, too, since now it's so easy to access reliable reference tools, if you know which ones they are. But a lot of people still don't think to look words up in dictionaries even, and user-created databases, while endlessly useful and often very amusing, do not really attempt (with a few exceptions like the Wikipedia folks) to provide reliable information. They operate on the theory that people will correct each other. Which is fair enough. But still it means that there is a ton of incorrect, misleading, self-serving, facetious and specious information out there online. Words like "authoritative" (and indeed even "author") seem to be falling into disrepute. But it's not all so bad, and I'm probably being too pessimistic. Things do tend to right themselves (and write themselves). So calm down, my friend.

    *offers reesetee a cup of comforting camomile tea*

    January 16, 2009

  • *shivers*

    January 16, 2009

  • I know, Rt. It's so sad. English took hundreds of years to come up with a more or less standardized spelling and grammar, and in a generation all that work is becoming unraveled. More and more, I think the Internet age risks becoming the New Dark Ages.

    January 16, 2009

  • And many, as with my company, simply lay off all copyeditors.

    January 16, 2009

  • Well, a lot of people have trouble spelling. And most of them don't use good copy-editors.

    January 15, 2009

  • Thank you, rolig! I suspected it was garret, but every single lyrics website states garrett, and they do the same. Could it be a Scottish spelling?

    January 15, 2009

  • Prolagus, "a hundred-grand garret" would be a loft apartment that cost 100,000 dollars (or pounds?) to buy. I'm not sure what the song wants to imply. Usually the word "garret" is associated with poor artists or writers living in a cheap rented attic space that has been converted into a makeshift apartment. Garrets can be nice, though. I lived in one for six years in Toronto.

    January 15, 2009

  • Z-list star in a hundred grand garret
    The ladies say 'Hey baby, you've earned it!'
    I'm not so sure, I toured the land
    You could call it work if you count the band.


    (To be myself completely, by Belle and Sebastian)

    (Is it garret, or Garrett? And what the hell would that mean?)

    January 15, 2009

  • Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary defines garret as "a room on the highest floor of the house."

    It also defines cockloft as "the room over the garret."

    (from the Futility Closet website)

    January 15, 2009