noun clois·ter \ˈklȯi-stər\

Definition of cloister

  1. 1a :  a monastic establishmentb :  an area within a monastery or convent to which the religious are normally restrictedc :  monastic life young men and women choosing the cloister as a way of lifed :  a place or state of seclusion … the Internet broke out of its academic cloister and started cavorting in the mainstream. — Paul McFedries

  2. 2 :  a covered passage on the side of a court usually having one side walled and the other an open arcade or colonnade The courtyard is surrounded with a cloister.

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Examples of cloister in a sentence

  1. monks living in a cloister in the country

Illustration of cloister

Origin and Etymology 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

Other Architecture Terms



verb clois·ter

Definition of cloister




play \-st(ə-)riŋ\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to seclude from the world in or as if in a cloister a scientist who cloisters herself in a laboratory policy makers are cloistered for the weekend, trying to stave off a default that they fear could trigger an international financial panic — Art Pine

  3. 2 :  to surround with a cloister cloistered gardens

Did You Know?

Cloister first entered the English language as a noun in the 13th century; it referred then (as it still does) to a convent or monastery. More than three centuries later, English speakers began using the verb "cloister" to mean "to seclude in or as if in a cloister." Today the noun can also refer to the monastic life or to a covered and usually arched passage along or around a court. You may also encounter "cloistered" with the meaning "surrounded with a covered passage," as in "cloistered gardens." "Cloister" ultimately derives from the Latin verb claudere, meaning "to close." Other words that can be traced back to the prolific "claudere" include "close," "conclude," "exclude," "include," "preclude," "seclude," and "recluse."

Origin and Etymology of cloister

see 1cloister

First Known Use: 1581

CLOISTER Defined for English Language Learners



noun clois·ter \ˈklȯi-stər\

Definition of cloister for English Language Learners

  • : 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

CLOISTER Defined for Kids


noun clois·ter \ˈklȯi-stər\

Definition of cloister for Students

  1. 1 :  monastery, convent

  2. 2 :  a covered passage with arches along or around the walls of a courtyard

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