Dictionary

1pigeonhole

noun pi·geon·hole \ˈpi-jən-ˌhōl\

: a small open space in a desk, cabinet, or wall for keeping letters or papers

—used to say that someone or something is being unfairly thought of or described as belonging to a particular group, having only a particular skill, etc.

Full Definition of PIGEONHOLE

1
:  a hole or small recess for pigeons to nest
2
:  a small open compartment (as in a desk or cabinet) for keeping letters or documents
3
:  a neat category which usually fails to reflect actual complexities

First Known Use of PIGEONHOLE

1577

2pigeonhole

verb

: to unfairly think of or describe (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group, having only a particular skill, etc.

Full Definition of PIGEONHOLE

transitive verb
1
a :  to place in or as if in the pigeonhole of a desk
b :  to lay aside :  shelve <his reports continued to be pigeonholed and his advice not taken — Walter Mills>
2
:  to assign to an often restrictive category :  classify
pi·geon·hol·er \-ˌhō-lər\ noun

Examples of PIGEONHOLE

  1. She likes to perform different types of music because she doesn't want to be pigeonholed.

First Known Use of PIGEONHOLE

1840

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