• (RP) IPA: /ˈklɒzɪt/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈklɑzɪt/

closet (plural closets)

  1. (obsolete) Any private area, particularly bowers in the open air.
  2. (now, rare) Any private or inner room, particularly:
    • a chair-lumbered closet, just twelve feet by nine
    1. (obsolete) A private room used by women to groom and dress themselves.
      • 1530, John Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement, p. 206:
        Closet for a lady to make her redy in, chamberette.
    2. (archaic) A private room used for prayer or other devotions.
      • Bible (KJV), Matthew, 6:6:
        When thou prayest, enter into thy closet.
    3. (figuratively, archaic) A place of (usually fanciful) contemplation and theorizing.
      • a. 1600, Robert Hooker, Of Lawes Eccl. and Politie, Ch. vii, § 24:
        ...abroad and at home, at their Tables or in their Closets...
    4. (archaic) The private residence or private council chamber of a monarch.
  3. (obsolete) A pew or side-chapel reserved for a monarch or other feudal lord.
  4. A private cabinet, particularly:
    1. (obsolete) One used to store valuables.
      • 1599, William Shakespeare, The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar, Act III, Scene ii, l. 130:
        But heere's a Parchment... I found it in his Closset, 'tis his Will.
    2. (archaic) One used to store curiosities.
      • 1659, Elias Ashmole, Diary, p. 326:
        Mr. Tradescant and his wife told me they had been long considering upon whom to bestow their closet of curiosities when they died.
      • 1681, Marquis of Halifax, Seasonable Addresses to the Houses of Parliament in Concise Succession, p. 10:
        The late House of Commons have... seiz'd Closets and Writings without Information.
    3. (now, chiefly, US) One used to store food or other household supplies: a cupboard.
      • 1799 May 17, Jane Austen, letter:
        A Closet full of shelves... it... should therefore be called a Cupboard rather than a Closet.
    4. (figuratively) A secret or hiding place, particularly the hiding place in English idioms such as in the closet and skeleton in the closet.
      • 1530, Myroure of Oure Ladye, Ch. ii, p. 233:
        Went the sonne of god oute of the pryuy closet of the maydens wombe.
      The closet can be a scary place for a gay teenager.
      He's so far in the closet, he can The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  5. (now, chiefly, Scotland, Ireland) Any small room or side-room, particularly:
    1. (US) One intended for storing clothes or bedclothes.
    2. (obsolete) Clipping of closet of ease#English|closet of ease or later (UK) water closet: a room containing a toilet.
  6. (heraldry) An ordinary similar to a bar but half as broad.
  7. (Scotland, obsolete) A sewer.
Synonyms Translations Translations Adjective

closet (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Private.
  2. Secret, especially with reference to gay people who are in the closet; closeted.
    He's a closet case.

closet (closets, present participle closeting; past and past participle closeted)

  1. (transitive) To shut away for private discussion.
    The ambassador has been closeted with the prime minister all afternoon. We're all worried what will be announced when they exit.
  2. (transitive) To put into a private place for a secret interview or interrogation.
    • He was to call a new legislature, to closet its members.
    • He had been closeted with De Quadra.
  3. (transitive) To shut up in, or as in, a closet for concealment or confinement.
    • 1784, William Cowper, Tirocinium, or A Review of Schools,
      See what contempt is fallen on human kind; […] See Bedlam's closeted and handcuff'd charge / Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large;
    • 1992, Toni Morrison, Jazz, p. 55,
      […] she had to look twice over her shoulder when the Gay Northeasters and the City Belles strolled down Seventh Avenue, they were so handsome. But this envy-streaked pleasure Alice closeted, and never let the girl see how she admired those ready-for-bed-in-the-street clothes.

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