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 Generous-sized bedrooms all have custom closets, hardwood floors and private baths., "Coastal-style home in Downers Grove: $875,000," 14 Sep. 2019 And because career risk is an enduring reality, closet indexing will be with us for some time. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "Yes, Passive Investing Has Exploded. But Here’s Why Fears of a Bubble are Overblown," 14 Sep. 2019 Master suite with steam shower, his and hers closets. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "Home sale prices from San Jose and Peninsula areas, September 13," 13 Sep. 2019 The sensor devices, which resembled smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, can detect vaping in places such as bathrooms or closets -- the kind of places where kids have tried to smoke for decades. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "High schools embrace 'vape detectors' in fight against bathroom vaping," 12 Sep. 2019 Unknown to the two suspects, a resident heard the window being broken, hid and called 911 from a closet. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County Sheriff: Burglary suspects may be linked to other Sienna Plantation, Riverstone burglaries," 11 Sep. 2019 High quality donations will be accepted during normal library hours and can be left in the lobby coat closet., "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 11 Sep. 2019 And sometimes accessing this support is contingent on the person remaining in the closet about their gender identity. Amy Stulman, Quartz, "Going to the doctor can be a traumatic experience for trans patients—but one piece of paper would help change that," 10 Sep. 2019 There are many different reasons for remaining in the proverbial closet. Joelle Monique, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'It: Chapter Two' Leaves Richie Tozier Behind," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The two are brought together when Pale’s brother, Robbie, a gay dancer who is closeted to his family and close to Anna, dies in a boating accident. Jason Zinoman, Vogue, "In Burn This, Adam Driver and Keri Russell Find Love in a Hopeless Place," 15 Apr. 2019 Terrified and in agony over her closeted life, J.J. attempted suicide, and the entire game is a sort of near-death fever dream where J.J.’s identity swims between liminal spaces — closeted and out, alive and dead, whole and in literal pieces. Julie Muncy, The Verge, "This queer horror game forces you to literally tear yourself apart," 8 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for closet

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for closet

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

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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).


to spread as a report or rumor

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