- 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
Synonyms for cloister
- 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 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.