Definition of cloister in English:



  • 1A covered walk in a convent, monastery, college, or cathedral, typically with a wall on one side and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other.

    • ‘Dubrovnik contains wonderful monasteries with peaceful cloisters and fine artworks.’
    • ‘‘It used to be like an open cloister but the archways were closed in,’ explained Mr Purslow.’
    • ‘The mosque originally consisted of a rectangular court 43.2 m by 33 m, enclosed by colonnaded cloisters.’
    • ‘The many arches of the cloisters sprawled outward from the tower casting long irregular shadows in the early morning light.’
    • ‘Danti's design of the monastery cloisters was particularly fine.’
    • ‘Hundreds of us occupied the cathedral cloisters and held a short rally.’
    • ‘There is a small archaeological museum in the cloisters of the cathedral.’
    • ‘As they entered the north-east transept from the cloister, the tumult of the knights' party caused the monks in the choir to stop singing vespers.’
    • ‘We emerged from a doorway into a cloister surrounding a huge open field: the very core of the Citadel.’
    • ‘It seemed that overnight they arrived, set up an office in the Cathedral cloisters, and sent out a troop of black-plumed guards to bring me to their head official.’
    • ‘The cloisters and gardens are also open with the Fox Talbot Museum between February 26 and April 1.’
    • ‘Sitting rooms lead off a wide, airy corridor, like a convent cloister, where light floods in.’
    • ‘Luca Signorelli started the decorative scheme with nine lunettes on the west side of the cloister.’
    • ‘Maithris looked up at the question, then back to trailing a finger along the slender cast-iron columns fronting the cloister as we walked.’
    • ‘A trumpet sounded through the sun-bathed cloisters of Manchester Cathedral after the coffin of Stephen Oake was borne in by six pall-bearers yesterday.’
    • ‘The courtyard is surrounded on three sides by columned cloisters with galleries of majestic arches.’
    • ‘The same serrated silhouette rounds off the long workshop volume on the opposite side of the cloister.’
    • ‘Italian influences are discernible in the wall paintings in the cloister of the Emmaus monastery.’
    • ‘In Carthusian houses the individual cells occupied by members of the community open from the cloister walk.’
    • ‘Cain walked down the winding cloisters towards the prison cells and thought of the misery surrounding him now.’
    walkway, covered walk, corridor, aisle, arcade, loggia, gallery, piazza
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    1. 1.1Monastic life.
      ‘he was inclined more to the cloister than the sword’
      • ‘They can simply say something such as ‘I am of the Cloister, and my cloister is of deep seclusion.’’
      • ‘Jedidah, before you commit yourself to the cloisters, we want to give you a choice.’
      • ‘When we meet Jesus in the medieval West, it is, in these and other ways, most often as the Christ of the cloisters.’
      • ‘This embrace of the mystical dimension of faith does not require withdrawal to the cloister or a privatized Christianity.’
      • ‘Thomas Merton described in a letter to Dorothy Day the movement of his spirit from the cloister to the world.’
      • ‘In other words, this is not a matter of supporting the cloister against the school, advocating lectio divina while rejecting ordered learning and disputation.’
    2. 1.2A convent or monastery.
      • ‘Sometimes Behrens recalls these stories from the vantage point of the monastic cloister.’
      • ‘Virtue is not tested in the cloister or the monastery or the nunnery.’
      • ‘And you can buy your vegetables from a local market spread out below 13 th-century Franciscan cloisters.’
      • ‘There are ways among the stone and shadow of our cloisters to transgress the Rule.’
      • ‘In turn, this plan was copied and adopted in cloisters and monasteries throughout Europe.’
      • ‘The very texts that the monks were reading in the cloister were often decorated with a similar repertoire of disturbing creatures.’
      • ‘Even though government had formally dispersed monks in cloisters, clerks and canons regular survived after unification.’
      • ‘Often the cloister was the only refuge for women who wanted to pursue learning and be active in scholarly life.’
      • ‘The setting is revolutionary France and a cloister of Carmelite nuns.’
      • ‘Traditional Cambridge colleges, modelled on monastic cloisters, consist of courts surrounded by walls of individual rooms.’
      • ‘He was born at York and educated in the cloister school there under Archbishop Egbert.’
      • ‘She who had abandoned the world outside the cloister walls found the microcosm of the community within too large.’
      • ‘Properly she should now retreat to the blessed silence of the cloister whence she strayed into the pulpit.’
      • ‘Before, books and maps were produced and copied by monks in cloisters.’
      • ‘The opera follows the destiny of Blanche de la Force as she enters the cloister at Compiegne, painting a portrait in sound of the humble, neurotic heroine.’
      • ‘There were many famous cloisters in Byzantium where such women placed themselves at the service of society as a whole.’
      • ‘Henket solved the problem with one bold basic move: creating a glass and metal bridge at first floor level along the north side of the cloister.’
      • ‘Many significant people, scholars and nonscholars, enrich the Orthodox cloisters.’
      • ‘Pagodas and Buddhist cloisters are another landmark of Yunnan.’
      • ‘Sirens, the most common hybrids to be included in Romanesque sculpture, appear frequently in the context of the monastic cloister.’
      abbey, monastery, friary, convent, priory, nunnery, religious house, religious community
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  • Seclude or shut up in or as if in a convent or monastery.

    ‘the monastery was where the Brothers would cloister themselves to meditate’
    ‘she cloisters herself at home’
    • ‘His skin sensed the suffocating stillness of the confessional as he heard the thick curtain sway close behind him, cloistering him inside the booth.’
    • ‘Yet for our ministers, cloistered from economic reality, it's business as usual.’
    • ‘For two years, he cloistered himself in a cave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Taipei County and meditated on the questions of life and death.’
    • ‘Like many kids growing up in the mid-1960s, I spent countless hours cloistered in my room assembling those multicolored bricks.’
    • ‘When guests are present they are expected to cloister themselves from view.’
    • ‘The Congress likes to cloister its leader in a tower surrounded by loyal party leaders, accessible only to the select few.’
    • ‘By the fifteenth century in England, even the regular clergy were rarely so tightly cloistered as to cut them off from social relations.’
    • ‘In this house they can cloister their passion freely since Maggie and Adam have in a sense pushed them together.’
    • ‘Fay was never terribly good at living, so it makes sense that she would eventually cloister herself away behind a typewriter.’
    • ‘‘He's uncomfortable with it, so I tend to do it secretly, when I'm alone in the house or by cloistering myself in the bathroom,’ she admits.’
    • ‘After saying for a year that he would not resign, he finally stepped down and cloistered himself for a while in a monastery until his appointment in Rome.’
    • ‘Neatly dressed, hands gloved, Erika pushes by the staring men and cloisters herself in private video booths.’
    confine, isolate, shut away, sequester, seclude, closet
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Middle English (in the sense place of religious seclusion): from Old French cloistre, from Latin claustrum, clostrum lock, enclosed place from claudere to close.