Definition of closet in English:



  • 1North American A cupboard or wardrobe, especially one tall enough to walk into:

    ‘he has a closet full of designer suits’
    • ‘You'll end up with a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear.’
    • ‘She then walked over to her closet and pulled out a large, brown trunk full of heirlooms and dust.’
    • ‘He walked over to his closet, reached over the rack of mostly black clothes, and pulled an old looking large box down from the shelf.’
    • ‘Keeley walked out of the closet with clothes in her hands and threw them on the bed, smiling at me.’
    • ‘The closet was full of clothes and shoes, and dirty laundry littered the floor.’
    • ‘Blake had a walk in closet, large enough for him to lie in.’
    • ‘Taking a broom and dustpan from a narrow closet, Joe walked around the bar and began sweeping Bobby's broken glass off the floor.’
    • ‘‘Yes just let me get my shoes on,’ Kat said walking over to her closet full of shoes.’
    • ‘Start opening your closets, drawers and cupboards now and donate your unused items to help others.’
    • ‘I jump off my bed and walk to my closet scanning the clothes, but not really looking, for my mind is recalling the events that happened earlier.’
    • ‘I'm here ransacking my closet for something good enough to wear, I can't believe all the trash I've got in here!’
    • ‘She watched as he stood, and walked brusquely to the closet, flicking through his wardrobe.’
    • ‘She opened the doors to a walk in closet full of purple outfits and at least fifty pairs of shoes.’
    • ‘He walked into his closet and grabbed some clothes to change into.’
    cupboard, wardrobe, cabinet, locker
    storage room, cubicle
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    1. 1.1 A small room, especially one used for storing things or for private study.
      • ‘He got up, and went away into the closet adjoining her room, in which a bed had been spread on the floor.’
      • ‘This section mainly held small maintenance closets, party rooms, storage areas, and a single inn.’
      • ‘Houses that don't have catch-all closets or rooms in which the inhabitants can dump outdoor stuff always seem sinister to me.’
      • ‘Suddenly they pulled him into a room that looked more like a janitor's closet then anything else.’
      • ‘In my search I found a bathroom, two closets, the laundry room, and the basement.’
      • ‘We'd hit the big time, changing in a real dressing room, not some backstage janitor's closet.’
      • ‘Is there an area of your house that has a musty smell to it (basements, laundry rooms, and closets are all prime spots)?’
      • ‘He, along with the others, was waiting for me by the second floor janitorial closet, a secluded and unused room just under the side stairwell.’
      • ‘Close doors to rooms that don't need to be heated, like closets, storage rooms, etc.’
      • ‘The hall, closets, laundry room, bathroom, and den all had their own muted colored doors.’
      • ‘Some people will also use this kind of pantry closet to store occasional-use items, such as large platters and coffee urns.’
      • ‘Spare bedrooms or large closets make good drying rooms, but hot attics and damp cellars generally do not.’
      • ‘Her mother, a petite sort of woman and covered in flour, walked out from the store closet.’
      • ‘I sat in my room, in my closet to be exact, and stared at the wall with my journal lying on my lap, waiting for me to fill its pages with tonight's occurrences.’
      • ‘The Interrogation Chamber was scarcely more than a small closet of a room.’
    2. 1.2dated A toilet.
      • ‘some persons will use the closet twice daily’
      • ‘the stench from the overcrowding or from closets is almost unbearable’
      lavatory, wc, water closet, facilities, urinal, privy, latrine, outhouse, earth closet, jakes
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  • 2the closetUsed to refer to a state of secrecy or concealment, especially about one's homosexuality:

    ‘his brother's decision to come out of the closet’
    ‘she tries to have a relationship with another woman while remaining in the closet’


  • [attributive] Secret; covert:

    ‘a closet smoker’
    • ‘I just hoped he wasn't some kind of closet kleptomaniac.’
    • ‘It's hard to find an environmentalist who is not a closet socialist - with a nice condo in the suburbs and two cars in the garage.’
    • ‘You half-expected the same spokesman to try to convince us all that bookies are really closet philanthropists.’
    • ‘There may be closet homosexuals but they are not to be relied upon.’
    • ‘He is a closet homosexual, quite clearly, and I'd advise him to act on his feelings.’
    • ‘As it turned out he wasn't a closet Bolshevik at all, rather a secret Tory with a clever eye for career advancement.’
    • ‘Perhaps we workers in Antarctica are regarded as closet revolutionaries?’
    • ‘Does this mean that journalists are closet Stalinists, covering for their comrades in furtherance of the Revolution?’
    • ‘The church has been ordaining closet homosexuals for 2000 years, but it seems to have problems ordaining honest ones.’
    • ‘He's obviously terrible in bed, and there's one scene that suggests he's a closet homosexual - so what's to admire?’
    • ‘I'm not talking about closet communists, hippies or little old ladies.’
    • ‘Today it is a heritage centre where closet cowboys don fancy dress and fire blanks from six-shooters in the name of tourism and charity.’
    • ‘Dublin is harbouring a posse of disenfranchised closet cowboys, hollering for a dedicated country music radio service.’
    • ‘Things of a sexual nature such as prostitution, even though they were going on, were pretty much closet activities.’
    • ‘Of course, there's always the possibility that she's got her own kind of closet issues.’
    • ‘I've discovered a whole drove of closet romance fans.’
    • ‘Women are often closet gamblers and their husbands and families are the last to know about the addiction.’
    secret, covert, unrevealed, undisclosed, private, hidden, concealed, surreptitious, clandestine, underground, furtive
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  • Shut (someone) away, especially in private conference or study:

    ‘he was closeted with the king’
    ‘he returned home and closeted himself in his room’
    • ‘From the Ministry of Defence, where he closeted himself for much of the time, there issued a steady flow of handouts extolling his sagacity and leadership.’
    • ‘Brendan closeted himself in his office for the rest of the day and wallowed in his misery.’
    • ‘Constantly closeted with management, they come to see negotiation, compromise, as the very stuff of trade unionism.’
    • ‘Before going for official-level talks, the Defence Secretary was closeted with his counterpart for about an hour.’
    • ‘Alex told me that although his family knows that he is gay, he closets himself more than I would have expected - particularly at his school.’
    • ‘It requires instead that women must closet themselves in order to protect themselves from sexual assault.’
    • ‘The secret to his stage routine is out: he sings as though he's in the shower and dances as though he's safely closeted in his bedroom.’
    • ‘The former senator closeted himself yesterday at his New Jersey, home to consult supporters.’
    • ‘It became impossible to closet millions of people behind a physical wall that was so easily penetrated by informatics.’
    • ‘The Daily Mail, which was due to run extracts in January, leapt at the chance to go early, and so I closeted myself away and bashed out an extra chapter bringing the book up to date.’
    • ‘Amanda closeted herself in her room for two days trying to sleep away her headache and the heartache that was its companion.’
    • ‘I'm the loser here, closeted in my room, thinking that study is an adequate substitute for life, or even, for vanity is something I've never quite outgrown, superior to it.’
    • ‘Immediately after the assassination he raced from Montreal to New York, where he was closeted in a five-hour locked-door meeting.’
    • ‘Then he closeted himself in the bathroom, intent on a shower.’
    • ‘I guess it was time for me to sulk about the house of the rest of the evening, closeting myself away in my room listening to music.’
    • ‘He would prefer to walk up the stairs than get closeted in a lift.’
    • ‘She added: ‘We have all been so affected by the tragedy that we risk closeting our kids and raising a generation of very nervous young adults.’’
    • ‘And so, closeted in our jury room, sandwiches ordered, mobile phones removed and under strict instructions to speak to no-one, we sat down to make our decision.’
    • ‘He responded by closeting himself in the former ladies' cabin of the steamer Magnolia while he poured over maps pondering the situation.’
    • ‘You know, he closeted himself off from the rest of the world, in that sense.’
    • ‘Being a housewife, closeted within the four walls of the kitchen amid pots, pans and ladles, dishing out culinary delicacies for family, friends and relatives need not always be drudgery.’
    shut away, sequester, seclude, cloister, insulate, confine, isolate
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Late Middle English (denoting a private or small room): from Old French, diminutive of clos closed (see close).