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 Sometime over the course of the next century, the banner was forgotten, relegated to a storage closet in the town hall and hidden under old furniture and debris. Taylor Deville,, "History preserved: WWI service banner, rediscovered decades ago, now hangs in Relay Town Hall," 3 Dec. 2019 My $20 dresses had consequences beyond my own closet and finances., "$6.2 billion online on Black Friday and $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday," 28 Nov. 2019 The officers and a police dog, Kenzi, surrounded the door to the closet and waited for the apartment building manager to unlock the door. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "WATCH: Lafayette police used K9 to attack unconscious man in his underwear, lawsuit says," 21 Nov. 2019 In fact, while attending Parsons School of Design in 2010, the Chicago native ended up interning in the Teen Vogue fashion closet and later the art department. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "@Gryffindior Is the Instagram Account Dressing Your Favorite Harry Potter Characters in All Things Dior," 25 Oct. 2019 Police went to an apartment Tuesday night on West Monroe Street in Bangor and, after receiving permission to enter, found the 15-year-old girl in a closet and Shepherd in the same bedroom, Simpson told the Michigan newspaper. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Report: Michigan police arrest Kentucky woman who allegedly had sex with 15-year-old girl," 24 Oct. 2019 Most are loaded, so please be careful opening drawers, closets, and medicine cabinets. Jack Handey, The New Yorker, "To My Relatives," 10 Feb. 2020 The master bedroom includes a walk-in closet and laundry room. Dallas News, "Families enjoy living in East Dallas, firm says," 9 Feb. 2020 Hooks stand in for a closet, and a Tibetan bench that shares a color palette with the rug supplies seating without hogging space. Catherine Romano, WSJ, "A Victorian Ski Cottage Blanketed in Boho Style," 8 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This was done despite Welts being closeted and never sharing information about his relationship with anyone at work. Los Angeles Times, "Column: David Stern’s greatest legacy is how he changed the dialogue on HIV/AIDS," 5 Jan. 2020 Scotty Bowers — a charismatic pimp who largely serviced classic Hollywood’s closeted LGBTQ community ahead of landing a starring role of his own at the center of a fascinating 2017 documentary — has died at age 96. Joey Nolfi,, "Scotty Bowers, classic Hollywood's 'Male Madam,' dies at 96," 15 Oct. 2019 Are there closeted liberals in conservative environments? Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Sweet freedom of conscience, &c.," 27 Jan. 2020 Gay and deeply closeted, Mr. Blass took particular delight in the fact that social rags had begun to refer to Ms. Griscom as his wife, Mrs. Blass. New York Times, "The Party Girl, Till the End," 7 Nov. 2019 The justices’ decision could return American workplaces to the era of rotary phones, casual sexism, and closeted identity. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Could Roll Back Sex Discrimination Protections," 19 Sep. 2019 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

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

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Closet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 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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