from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An upright, cupboardlike repository with shelves, drawers, or compartments for the safekeeping or display of objects.
  • noun Computers The box that houses the main components of a computer, such as the central processing unit, disk drives, and expansion slots.
  • noun A body of persons appointed by a head of state or a prime minister to head the executive departments of the government and to act as official advisers.
  • noun Archaic A small or private room set aside for a specific activity.
  • adjective Suitable for storage or display in a cabinet, as because of size or decorative quality.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being a member of a governmental cabinet.
  • adjective Used in the making of cabinets.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To inclose in or as in a cabinet.
  • noun A little cabin; a small habitation or retreat.
  • noun A small room; a retired apartment; a closet.
  • noun A private room in which consultations are held; specifically, the closet or private apartment in which a sovereign confers with his privy council or most trusted ministers.
  • noun Hence An executive council; the select council of a sovereign or of an executive government; the collective body of ministers who direct the government of a nation or country.
  • noun A meeting or session of a cabinet council.
  • noun A piece of furniture having shelves or drawers, or both, or simply cupboards inclosed with doors; especially, one of ornamental character, decorated with carving, inlaying, painting, lacquer, medallions of painted porcelain, or enamel or metal appliqués.
  • noun Any part of a building, or one or more whole buildings, set apart for the conservation of works of art, antiquities, etc.; hence, by metonymy, the collection itself: as, a mineral cabinet.
  • noun In printing, an inclosed frame for printers' cases, generally used for job-type.
  • Confidential; secret; private.
  • Relating to a cabinet; belonging to or constituting a body of ministers of state: as, a cabinet minister; a cabinet council.
  • Belonging to a private collection, private cellar, or the like, and therefore presumably of superior quality: as, cabinet wines.
  • Hence Of such size, beauty, or value as to be kept in a cabinet, or to be fitted for use in a private chamber: as, a cabinet edition of a book; a cabinet organ; a cabinet pianoforte; a cabinet picture; cabinet photographs.
  • A council held with privacy; the confidential council of a prince or an executive magistrate; a council of cabinet ministers held with privacy to deliberate upon public affairs.
  • The members of a privy council; a select number of confidential counselors; specifically, same as cabinet, I., 4.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Suitable for a cabinet; small.
  • intransitive verb rare To inclose.
  • noun obsolete A hut; a cottage; a small house.
  • noun A small room, or retired apartment; a closet.
  • noun A private room in which consultations are held.
  • noun The advisory council of the chief executive officer of a nation; a cabinet council.
  • noun A set of drawers or a cupboard intended to contain articles of value. Hence
  • noun A decorative piece of furniture, whether open like an étagère or closed with doors. See Étagère.
  • noun Any building or room set apart for the safe keeping and exhibition of works of art, etc.; also, the collection itself.
  • noun A meeting of the cabinet.
  • noun a member of a cabinet council.
  • noun a photograph of a size smaller than an imperial, though larger than a carte de visite.
  • noun a small and generally highly finished picture, suitable for a small room and for close inspection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A storage closet either separate from, or built into, a wall.
  • noun historical A size of photograph, specifically one measuring 3⅞" by 5½".
  • noun A group of advisors to a government or business entity.
  • noun politics, often capitalized In parliamentary and some other systems of government, the group of ministers responsible for creating government policy and for overseeing the departments comprising the executive branch.
  • noun archaic A small chamber or private room.
  • noun often capitalized a collection of art or ethnographic objects
  • noun dialectal, Rhode Island milkshake

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

  • noun housing for electronic instruments, as radio or television
  • noun a storage compartment for clothes and valuables; usually it has a lock
  • noun persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers
  • noun a piece of furniture resembling a cupboard with doors and shelves and drawers; for storage or display


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

[French, partly from diminutive of Old North French cabine, gambling-room (perhaps alteration of Old French cabane, small house; see cabin) and partly from Italian gabinetto, closet, chest of drawers; akin to Old North French cabine. N., sense 5, possibly from the square wooden container in which the mixer was encased.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From cabin +‎ -et, influenced by French cabinet. In sense of “a government group”, compare salon, also named for a room used to gather.


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  • (_Moving to cabinet, puts curtains and work-box on top of cabinet_.)

    Mr. Pim Passes By 1919

  • And, his appointment as Minister of National Defence and Veterans Affairs on October 4, 1996, illustrates that the reward for a job well done in cabinet is more often the awarding of an even greater challenge than what was met in the past.

    Challenges and Choices 1996

  • The back of the cabinet is also equipped with openings to allow cables to pass through.

    Casamania’s 2009 Salone del Mobile Preview 2009

  • Above the cabinet is my snake mask I bought in Bhutan, my ladies 'wig for those late nights clubbing, and a heavy-duty plastic skull my dad picked up in medical school.

    Send Us Your Shelf Porn! | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment 2009

  • Peter Black notes that Jane's track record as a member of the cabinet is about as popular as a Rancor at a Jawaese wedding.

    Grant shake-up plan 2008

  • Peter Black notes that Jane's track record as a member of the cabinet is about as popular as a Rancor at a Jawaese wedding.

    Archive 2008-11-01 2008

  • He was commenting on the all-out effort by party leaders, including certain cabinet members, to pressure the National Prosecuting Authority not to pursue the corruption charges that had been lingering since 2005.

    Jacob’s Ladder 2009

  • I like it more than coffee; my coffee cabinet is filled with more tea that I can cound on both hands.

    Welcome to the Boston Tea Party « Northern Belle 2009

  • By the way, the liquor cabinet is concealed behind the Yoshinaga shrine.

    Go west, young woman 2009

  • He was commenting on the all-out effort by party leaders, including certain cabinet members, to pressure the National Prosecuting Authority not to pursue the corruption charges that had been lingering since 2005.

    Jacob’s Ladder 2009


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  • "When ice cream is added, Coffee Milk is called a “Coffee Cabinet” or “Coffee Cab.” In other words, a “cabinet” is a local term for a “frappe” which is a regional term for an ice cream milk shake. It is though to be called a “cabinet” because it unknown originator kept his blender in a kitchen cabinet."

    Rhode Island Coffee Cabinet

    December 30, 2007

  • Yum! Another good reason to visit Rhode Island.

    December 31, 2007

  • What are the others, rt?

    January 1, 2008

  • Yarb, nice to see you back in Wordietown. :-)

    Oh, there are many reasons! Coastland, birds, history, architecture, lighthouses....Then again, it doesn't take much to convince me to take a road trip.

    And don't forget: Rhode Island is a useful unit of measure.

    January 2, 2008

  • A road trip or a Rhode trip?

    January 2, 2008

  • Ah! Both, I suppose. :-)

    January 2, 2008

  • Go there by amphibian for a rode toad Rhode road trip.

    January 2, 2008

  • As long as it's not an outmoded toad, as slow as a nematode.

    January 2, 2008

  • "The oldest item in the society’s “cabinet” (the coin-maven word for collection) is one of the first coins ever produced, made of gold-silver alloy and issued around 650 B.C. by a Lydian king who was an ancestor of Croesus."

    The New York Times, A Treasure Travels, Inconspicuously, by Glenn Collins, June 16, 2008

    June 17, 2008

  • "In 17th-century parlance, both French and English, a cabinet came to signify a collection of works of art, which might still also include an assembly objects of virtù or curiosities, such as a virtuoso would find intellectually stimulating. In 1714 Michael Bernhard Valentini published an early museological work, Museum Museorum, an account of the cabinets known to him with catalogues of their contents."

    --From Wikipedia's Cabinet of curiosities article, which I looked up because Wordnik's random feature showed me sylloge and I was thinking of different collections. The cabinet of curiosities article directed me to Wikipedia's virtù article--even though Wordnik had already showed me that the word virtu would be a better fit when I was looking it up because of bilby's puns earlier today over on the veerto list--and thus, this word word is iroquoisy. QED.

    March 9, 2011

  • Hey, this is iroquoisy for me again! This morning I had a conversation with a couple of cow-orkers about how to say "I'm going to go to the bathroom" in French. There were a few options ("Je vais aux toilettes," "Je vais au WC,") but my new favorite is "Je vais au cabinet" (which, apparently, can be shortened to "Je vais au cab.") Later, when I was trying to explain to some other folks about how my Motown list was iroquoisy, the first word I saw over there was cabinet.

    May 3, 2012

  • cabinet redux?

    May 4, 2012