closet

[kloz-it]
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noun
  1. a small room, enclosed recess, or cabinet for storing clothing, food, utensils, etc.
  2. a small private room, especially one used for prayer, meditation, etc.
  3. a state or condition of secrecy or carefully guarded privacy: Some conservatives remain in the closet except on election day. Gay liberation has encouraged many gay people to come out of the closet.
  4. water closet.
adjective
  1. private; secluded.
  2. suited for use or enjoyment in privacy: closet reflections; closet prayer.
  3. engaged in private study or speculation; speculative; unpractical: a closet thinker with no practical experience.
  4. being or functioning as such in private; secret: a closet anarchist.
verb (used with object)
  1. to shut up in a private room for a conference, interview, etc. (usually used in the passive voice): The secretary of state was closeted with the senator for three hours in a tense session.

Origin of closet

1300–50; Middle English < Anglo-French, Middle French, equivalent to clos close (noun) + -et -et
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for closet

closet

noun
  1. a small cupboard or recess
  2. a small private room
  3. short for water closet
  4. (modifier) private or secret
  5. (modifier) suited or appropriate for use in privatecloset meditations
  6. (modifier) US and Canadian based on or devoted to theory; speculativea closet strategist
verb -ets, -eting or -eted
  1. (tr) to shut up or confine in a small private room, esp for conference or meditation

Word Origin for closet

C14: from Old French, from clos enclosure; see close 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for closet
n.

late 14c., from Old French closet "small enclosure, private room," diminutive of clos "enclosure," from Latin clausum "closed space, enclosure, confinement," from neuter past participle of claudere "to shut" (see close (v.)). In Matt. vi:6 it renders Latin cubiculum "bedchamber, bedroom," Greek tamieion "chamber, inner chamber, secret room;" thus originally in English "a private room for study or prayer." Modern sense of "small side-room for storage" is first recorded 1610s.

The adjective is from 1680s, "private, secluded;" meaning "secret, unknown" recorded from 1952, first of alcoholism, but by 1970s used principally of homosexuality; the phrase come out of the closet "admit something openly" first recorded 1963, and lent new meanings to the word out.

v.

"shut up as in a closet" (originally usually for purposes of concealment or private consultation), 1680s, from closet (v.). Related: Closeted; closeting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with closet

closet

see come out of the closet; skeleton in the closet.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.