noun \ˈkli-stər\

: a place where monks or nuns live : a monastery or convent

: a covered path or hall with arches that is on the side of a building (such as a monastery or church) and that has one open side usually facing a courtyard

Full Definition of CLOISTER

a :  a monastic establishment
b :  an area within a monastery or convent to which the religious are normally restricted
c :  monastic life
d :  a place or state of seclusion
:  a covered passage on the side of a court usually having one side walled and the other an open arcade or colonnade

Examples of CLOISTER

  1. <monks living in a cloister in the country>

Illustration of CLOISTER

Origin of CLOISTER

Middle English cloistre, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin claustrum, from Latin, bar, bolt, from claudere to close — more at close
First Known Use: 13th century

Related to CLOISTER

Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth

Rhymes with CLOISTER


clois·teredclois·ter·ing \-st(ə-)riŋ\

Definition of CLOISTER

transitive verb
:  to seclude from the world in or as if in a cloister <a scientist who cloisters herself in a laboratory>
:  to surround with a cloister <cloistered gardens>

First Known Use of CLOISTER



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Open arcaded cloister of Saint-Trophîme, Arles, Fr.—Jean Roubier

Four-sided enclosure surrounded by covered walkways and usually attached to a monastic or cathedral church; also, the walkways themselves. The earliest cloisters were open arcades, usually with sloping wooden roofs. This form was generally superseded in England by a range of windows lighting a vaulted ambulatory (aisle). In southern climates, the open-arcaded cloister remained standard. An especially fine example is Donato Bramante's two-story open arcade at Santa Maria della Pace, Rome (1500–4).


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