clos·​et | \ ˈklä-zət How to pronounce closet (audio) , ˈklȯ- \

Definition of closet

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an apartment or small room for privacy
b : a monarch's or official's private chamber
2 : a cabinet or recess for especially china, household utensils, or clothing
3 : a place of retreat or privacy
5 : a state or condition of secrecy, privacy, or obscurity came out of the closet


closeted; closeting; closets

Definition of closet (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to shut up in or as if in a closet
2 : to take into a closet for a secret interview



Definition of closet (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : closely private
2 : working in or suited to the closet as the place of seclusion or study : theoretical
3 : being so in private a closet racist

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Other Words from closet


closetful \ ˈklä-​zət-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce closet (audio) , ˈklȯ-​ \ noun

Examples of closet in a Sentence

Noun The sheets and blankets are in the hall closet. He has a closet full of new clothes. Verb He closeted himself in his apartment for several days. he closeted himself in his study, vowing not to emerge until he had finished the term paper Adjective Some people think he's a closet homosexual.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun How might a kitchen pantry be moved to a hallway closet to make way for a larger countertop? Megan Micco, Forbes, "Seven Characteristics To Expect From An Exceptional Real Estate Agent," 3 Mar. 2021 The large red heels rest, impatiently, in a closet. Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco's beloved nightlife venues are on the brink of closure. It's time for everyone to step up," 3 Mar. 2021 The best lap desk for kids will have legs that are foldable for easy storage in a closet or under a bed. Popular Science, "Best kids’ desk: home and bedroom furniture to boost creativity," 21 Feb. 2021 The District’s teachers have access to the closet for students who may need a set of supplies for class. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "Get in the swim at Goldfish Swim School early 2021: Strong Points," 8 Oct. 2020 Shop the best tie-dye trend pieces to add to your closet, below. Kathleen Thomas, Glamour, "Tie-Dye Is Officially the Biggest Trend of the Year," 9 Sep. 2020 Add a little flair to your linen closet with these 30-by-54-inch cotton towels made to be mixed and matched. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "Shop Labor Day deals at Macy’s for the kitchen, bedroom, bath and closet," 5 Sep. 2020 Head straight to their closet to find the foundation for this adorable look — a black leotard and tutu. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to DIY a Butterfly Costume for Kids Without Ever Picking up a Needle and Thread," 27 Aug. 2020 The key to the closet was kept on a hook by the kitchen door. oregonlive, "Southern Oregon teen who terrorized, then killed foster mother, sisters eligible for parole in 12 years," 3 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The list includes everything from a doorman and a super to closet space and a dishwasher. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "This New App Is Like Bumble for New York City Real Estate," 6 Oct. 2020 Supernatural exists in a world where angels rock trench coats, demons roam freely, and that thing in your kids closet? Samantha Highfill,, "Supernatural Send-off: 'The Benders' remains one of the show's greatest twists," 5 Oct. 2020 The asteroid – 2020 SW – will be closet to Earth around 7:18 a.m. EDTaccording to EarthSky. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Tonight, they say Breonna’s name," 23 Sep. 2020 Organize your tool shed or closet to receive stuff. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Don’t panic, but it’s time to start your autumn gardening chores," 10 Sep. 2020 The clothes closet at the Dominguez Hills campus offered students casual everyday wear as well as business attire for professional environments, completely free, according to the State Bulletin, the school's newspaper. USA Today, "'Living in my car'? Fall semester online means college students are scrambling for housing, Wi-Fi," 21 Aug. 2020 Hopefully, someone else will feel that joy and that makes the parting from what once were my favorite things such sweet sorrow Onto the next purge — my clothes closet. Dolly Merritt,, "Merritt: Does it bring me joy? Pandemic provides a time to keep and a time to cast away.," 15 Aug. 2020 Cohn was also gay, not so much closeted as hiding in plain, catch-me-if-you-can sight., "Roy Cohn (pictured with a young Donald Trump in an undated photo) is the subject of the documentary “Where's My Roy Cohn?”," 2 Oct. 2019 Then crouch in a small, interior room or closet away from windows. Jennifer Gray, CNN, "Tornadoes and damaging winds are likely Easter weekend," 10 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'closet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of closet


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1637, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for closet


Middle English, from Anglo-French closett, diminutive of clos enclosure — more at close

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Time Traveler for closet

Time Traveler

The first known use of closet was in the 14th century

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Statistics for closet

Last Updated

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Closet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for closet



English Language Learners Definition of closet

 (Entry 1 of 3)

chiefly US : a usually small room that is used for storing things (such as clothing, towels, or dishes)
: a state in which someone will not talk about something or admit something especially : a state in which someone will not admit being a homosexual



English Language Learners Definition of closet (Entry 2 of 3)

: to put (yourself) in a room in order to be alone
: to bring (someone) into a room in order to talk privately



English Language Learners Definition of closet (Entry 3 of 3)

: hiding the fact that you are a particular type of person


clos·​et | \ ˈklä-zət How to pronounce closet (audio) \

Kids Definition of closet

: a small room for clothing or for supplies for the house a clothes closet

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