- one of a series of small, open compartments, as in a desk, cabinet, or the like, used for filing or sorting papers, letters, etc.
- a hole or recess, or one of a series of recesses, for pigeons to nest in.
- Also called pigeon hole, white hole. Printing. white space created by setting words or lines too far apart.
- to assign to a definite place or to definite places in some orderly system: to pigeonhole new ideas.
- to lay aside for use or reference at some later, indefinite time: We must pigeonhole this excellent plan until the time is ripe.
- to put aside for the present, especially with the intention of ignoring or forgetting, often indefinitely: to pigeonhole an unwanted invitation.
- to place in or as if in a pigeonhole or pigeonholes: to pigeonhole papers.
- to fit or provide with pigeonholes: The desk must be pigeonholed for all my papers.
Origin of pigeonhole
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pigeon-hole
The Caucasian God was taken out of His pigeon-hole and publicly recognised.The Conquest of Fear
But the ways of men who could pigeon-hole a recommendation like that are difficult to understand.Policing the Plains
I declare, if that mouse didn't knock a letter out of the pigeon-hole!The Expressman and the Detective
Every pigeon-hole had been ransacked and the contents were piled up in a confused heap.The Green Rust
Now into what pigeon-hole of my brain did that go, and why do I suddenly remember it now?My Father as I Recall Him
- a small compartment for papers, letters, etc, as in a bureau
- a hole or recess in a dovecote for pigeons to nest in
- informal a category or classification
- to put aside or defer
- to classify or categorize, esp in a rigid manner
Word Origin and History for pigeon-hole
also pigeonhole, 1570s, "a small recess for pigeons to nest in," from pigeon + hole (n.). Meaning "a compartment in a writing desk," etc. is from 1680s, based on resemblance. The verb is from 1840 literally; figurative sense of "label mentally" is from 1870.
[Y]ou will have an inspector after you with note-book and ink-horn, and you will be booked and pigeon-holed for further use when wanted. ["Civilisation--The Census," "Blackwood's Magazine," Oct. 1854]