- a covered walk, especially in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade usually opening onto a courtyard.
- a courtyard, especially in a religious institution, bordered with such walks.
- a place of religious seclusion, as a monastery or convent.
- any quiet, secluded place.
- life in a monastery or convent.
- to confine in a monastery or convent.
- to confine in retirement; seclude.
- to furnish with a cloister or covered walk.
- to convert into a monastery or convent.
Origin of cloister
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for cloister
For five years Angelique lived and grew there, as if in a cloister, far away from the world.The Dream
But, to say he turned his eyes upon the cloister keys, is a mere figure of speech.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
The convent-bell struck midnight, and there was a foot-fall in the cloister.
This enclosed, quiet residence vaguely recalled the cloister.Therese Raquin
Here they may have supported the wooden roof of a cloister or porch.Byzantine Churches in Constantinople
Alexander Van Millingen
- a covered walk, usually around a quadrangle in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade on the inside and a wall on the outside
- (sometimes plural) a place of religious seclusion, such as a monastery
- life in a monastery or convent
- (tr) to confine or seclude in or as if in a monastery
Word Origin and History for cloister
early 13c., from Old French cloistre "monastery, convent; enclosure" (12c., Modern French cloître), from Medieval Latin claustrum "portion of monastery closed off to laity," from Latin claustrum (usually in plural, claustra) "place shut in, enclosure; bar, bolt, means of shutting in," from past participle stem of claudere (see close (v.)).
"The original purpose of cloisters was to afford a place in which the monks could take exercise and recreation" [Century Dictionary]. Spelling in French influenced by cloison "partition." Old English had clustor, clauster in the sense "prison, lock, barrier," directly from Latin, and cf. from the same source Dutch klooster, German Kloster, Polish klasztor.
c.1400 (implied in cloistered), from cloister (n.). Figurative use from c.1600. Related: Cloistered; cloistering.