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

  • noun A cabinet or enclosed recess for linens, household supplies, or clothing.
  • noun A small private chamber, as for study or prayer.
  • noun A water closet; a toilet.
  • noun A state of secrecy or cautious privacy.
  • transitive verb To enclose or shut up in a private room, as for discussion.
  • adjective Private; confidential.
  • adjective Being so or engaging only in private; secret.
  • adjective Based on theory and speculation rather than practice.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To inclose or shut up, as in a closet or close compartment.
  • To admit into or as into a closet, as for concealment or for private and confidential or clandestine consultation: used chiefly in the past participle.
  • noun A small room or apartment for retirement; any room for privacy; a small supplementary apartment communicating with another, as a dressing-room with a bedroom; hence, in religious literature, the place or habit of devotional seclusion.
  • noun A small side room or inclosed recess for storing utensils, clothing, provisions, curiosities, etc.
  • noun A bedroom.
  • noun A secret place; a place for the storing of precious things.
  • noun An inclosed or inside part.
  • noun In heraldry, a diminutive of the bar, one half of its width.
  • Restricted, as to a closet; pertaining to or done in privacy or seclusion; suitable to or designed for private consideration or use; private; secluded: as, a closet conference or intrigue; closet reflections; a closet book or picture.
  • Intimate; sharing one's privacy.
  • Fitted only for seclusion or the privacy of a scholar; not adapted to the conditions of a practical life; merely theoretical; unpractical: as, a closet philosopher or theory.

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

  • noun A small room or apartment for retirement; a room for privacy.
  • noun A small apartment, or recess in the side of a room, for household utensils, clothing, etc.
  • noun sin commited in privacy.
  • transitive verb rare To shut up in, or as in, a closet; to conceal.
  • transitive verb To make into a closet for a secret interview.

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

  • noun A piece of furniture or a cabinet in which clothes or household supplies may be stored.
  • noun A small private chamber.
  • noun A toilet; a water closet.
  • noun figuratively The imagined closet in idioms such as in the closet or skeleton in the closet, a place to keep things hidden.
  • adjective Secret.
  • verb transitive To shut away for private discussion.
  • verb transitive To put into a private place for a secret interview or interrogation.
  • verb transitive To shut up in, or as in, a closet for concealment or confinement.

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

  • verb confine to a small space, as for intensive work
  • noun a tall piece of furniture that provides storage space for clothes; has a door and rails or hooks for hanging clothes
  • noun a toilet in Britain
  • noun a small private room for study or prayer
  • noun a small room (or recess) or cabinet used for storage space


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

[Middle English, private room, from Old French, diminutive of clos, enclosure, from Latin clausum, from neuter of clausus, enclosed; see close.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French closet (clos +‎ -et)


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  • cLOSEt, and cLOSeT: One closets a thing so as not to lose it (among other things).

    May 27, 2008

  • The boxes come out

    From closets and chests,

    With odd sorts of clothes

    Like old hats and vests,

    And photographed faces,

    And ribbons and laces,

    And postcards of places,

    And cards left by guests.

    - Dorothy Brown Thompson, 'I Like Housecleaning'.

    November 1, 2008