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 closetful (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 In a a separate video, Siwa showed off her new bedroom, delighting fans with glimpses at her photo collage wall, her walk-in closet (with her collection of high-top shoes) and a sparkly rainbow bed. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "See Inside JoJo Siwa's Over-the-Top California Mansion, Complete with In-Home '7-Eleven'," 13 Jan. 2020 The master bath offers a soaking tub, a snail shower and a custom walk-in closet. Mary Wakeford, azcentral, "From foreclosure to fabulous. Take a look at this Peoria home," 9 Jan. 2020 Barney Frank, who later went on to serve three decades in Congress, was brand new in the state House of Representatives in 1973 and still in the closet., "Senator David H. Locke, a Wellesley Republican, called the bill “the opening salvo in the gays’ march to social acceptance and approval of their chosen lifestyle” and predicted it would lead to legislation “permitting men to marry men and women to wed women.”," 26 Dec. 2019 The victims remained in the closet until early Thursday. Carol Robinson |, al, "Pair blazed a trail of evil, brutality and death from Alabama to Missouri," 23 Dec. 2019 The wow gift can get a big reaction, but then sit like an untouched shopping bag in the closet. Shannon Fitzgerald, Fortune, "Your Non-Rational Holiday Gifting Habits Are Officially Driving Behavioral Economists Crazy," 18 Dec. 2019 The master bedroom includes a separate balcony, a custom walk-in closet, and a bathroom with a soaking tub and steam shower., "Goose Island home with custom lighting: $1.9M," 4 Dec. 2019 Of course, neither Dr. Reeves nor I could have predicted that my new daily practice would lead to a four-alarm incense fire in Beth’s walk-in closet (A.K.A. my meditation nook). Danielle Kraese, The New Yorker, "Things That Were Supposed to Cure My Acne and What They Actually Did," 27 Nov. 2019 The first-floor master suite comes with a walk-in closet, and four en suite bedrooms are on the second floor. Emilia Benton, Houston Chronicle, "Memorial home offers urban living close to nature," 2 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb They aren’t supposed to appear again, closeted away in the houses of abortionists only to emerge in our newsfeeds or on our television screens. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "These Are Human Beings," 18 Sep. 2019 Though that first meeting is a bust, Pak and Hoi eventually strike up a friendship, then a romance, which both closeted men opt to keep under wraps. Elizabeth Kerr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Suk Suk': Film Review | Busan 2019," 7 Oct. 2019 Season 3 of Netflix’s controversial teen drama revealed that the homophobic, almost-sociopathic jock was actually closeted himself. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "13 Reasons Why star Timothy Granaderos on that shocking twist: 'I was always sad for Montgomery'," 26 Aug. 2019 Trump’s comments prompted a chaotic chain of events, with senior census planners closeted in emergency meetings and the Justice Department summoned to a phone conference with a federal judge in Maryland to explain itself. Alan Rappeport,, "Justice Department Reverses Course on Citizenship Question on Census, Citing Trump’s Orders," 3 July 2019 Many men caught in these entrapment schemes were closeted and accepted fines and plea deals rather than fight charges in a public trial, where they could be outed and harassed. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "How Stonewall Reversed a Long History of Justifying Police Surveillance," 29 June 2019 For his part, Bash was freaked out after his former butler Florian (Alex Rich) died from AIDs, implying that Bash loved him as more than a friend and his fears were keeping him closeted. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Everything you need to remember about GLOW before watching season 3," 8 Aug. 2019 Some who are high-functioning may keep their conditions closeted for fear of losing professional employment, or for fear of being a target for bullying. Jack Bragen, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Those of us with psychiatric illness deserve opportunity," 11 July 2019 Gay writers, some open and others closeted, but all writing of desire, its pleasures and complications, its consequences, its longings, its losses. Andrew Martin, Harper's magazine, "Not Mere Projection," 10 Mar. 2019

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Closet.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for closet


How to pronounce closet (audio)

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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Comments on closet

What made you want to look up closet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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