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

  • noun A door leading to a cellar.
  • noun Part of a winery from which wine may be sampled or purchased.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word cellar door.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • do you guys think that this is the most beautiful pairing of words in the English language? If not, what do you think is?

    February 7, 2007

  • home theater

    February 7, 2007

  • They flow together no matter how you say it.

    May 23, 2008

  • Reminds me of a fun clapping song I loved as a child:

    Oh PLAYMATE, come out and play with me

    And bring your dollies three.

    Climb up my apple tree,

    Look down my rain barrel

    Slide down my cellar door

    And we'll be jolly friends forever more.

    I bought the house I own now, partly because it had a cellar door.

    May 23, 2008

  • And did you do the second verse about Khrushchev?

    May 23, 2008

  • I don't know that one reesetee -- does it involve shoe banging instead of clapping?

    May 23, 2008

  • And Khrushchev comes out and fights with you; he brings his soldiers three.

    May 23, 2008

  • Needle and the Damage Done + Donnie Darko + Tolkein = a strong argument for beauty or at least resonance.

    Most beautful pairing? The jury is surely still out.

    March 12, 2009

  • We got a new one today.

    June 16, 2009

  • Most English-speaking people will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful', especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful.

    -J.R.R. Tolkien, English and Welsh

    August 14, 2009

  • I agree, but what's wrong with the sense and spelling? I love cellar doors almost as much as cellar door. With their heft and decrepitude, their flaked greed paint, their promise of earthy smells and ghastliness and pallor.

    August 14, 2009

  • yarb - Have I got a cellar door for you!

    August 14, 2009

  • Does it betoken ghastliness, dc? Is it hefty?

    August 14, 2009

  • The sellers d'or were huddled behind the cellar door when the raid occurred. But it proved to be nothing more than a bunch of donkeys in search of carrots.

    pack my box with a dozen liquor jugs.

    a quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

    the narpish fleens discombobulated the extraneous antimacassars.


    oops! sorry, gang. I'm just a little lightheaded now that my escape from the heckhole (hi, reesetee!) that is santiago is imminent.

    August 14, 2009

  • Not particularly attractive for me. Don't tell the cellar door but I've fallen for the lilt of clerestory window.

    August 14, 2009

  • Oh, it's hefty alright. Pretty ghastly as well with peeling paint, rusty hinges, and a bit of wood rot on one side.

    August 14, 2009

  • Hecko, sionnach!

    But cellar doors aren't ghastly, are they? I've never encountered such. Most are rather agreeable, in my experience.

    August 14, 2009

  • dc: it sounds idyllic, how much do you want for it? Can you ship it to me in 3-6 weeks?

    rt: no, the doors themselves aren't ghastly. It's the promise of ghastliness beyond that adds to the cellar door's allure. You know, bones, runes, ectoplasm, that sort of thing.

    August 14, 2009

  • Sorry yarb, it's not for sale. But you can visit it - and what lies beyond - anytime! It's just on the other side of the house from the porch.

    August 15, 2009

  • I'm afraid that if I visited I would never leave.

    August 15, 2009

  • It IS a wonderland beyond the cellar door. It's dark and musty, the floor is all pebbles and dirt, the walls are stone and always a bit wet. It's ruled by snakes and mice (who are constantly at war) with toads coming and going with the seasons. When the boiler fires up sounds like the end of days... There is a hidden trap door in the main house which leads to that netherworld as well. It's got a few tales to tell I'll bet ya.

    August 15, 2009

  • I'm doing a bit of research on the history of "cellar door" being considered beautiful. I've found it as far back as 1903 so far! Which leaves out Tolkien as the originator, given that he was 11 years old then.

    November 10, 2009

  • I'm sure it first appeared in a B-grade zombie flick.

    November 10, 2009

  • Cellar Door is exhaustively explored by Grant Barrett in the NY Times On Language column of Feb. 14, 2010. I'd like to add one hypothesis: "Cellar Door" sounds beautiful in part because it sounds Italian and more so because it sounds like "stella d'oro," gold star.

    February 15, 2010

  • Cellar Door's euphone is exhaustively explored in the NY Times On Language column of Feb. 14, 2010. I'll add one hypothesis: It sounds Italian and, more specifically, like "stella d'oro," gold star.

    February 15, 2010

  • I've added this to my clapping games list.

    October 31, 2011

  • I ''loved'' cellar door in homage to J.R.R. Tolkien - whether he is the originator of the notion it was a beautiful sound or not, he remarked that most people would agree the words make a beautiful sound. After inventing several languages, many euphonious, like Quenya, I think he would be a good judge of nice sounding words...

    July 25, 2013

  • John!

    August 1, 2015