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 As for what to use them on, well, make room in your closet, because there are tons best-selling options available for every member of the family. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "Moosejaw sale: Get an extra 25% off The North Face, Columbia and more sale styles," 19 Dec. 2020 So there's a lot of things just sitting in my closet that are kind of just waiting for their turn to see the light. Sara Holzman, Marie Claire, "How Ashley James Dresses for a Day at the Museum," 11 Dec. 2020 Chances are something in your closet was made in India -- and that's because India is the world's leading producer of cotton, surpassing China, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Thousands of people are protesting with farmers in India. This is why you should care," 11 Dec. 2020 As someone who wears almost exclusively black pants and white tee shirts, a forest green turtleneck is about as flamboyant as things get in my closet. Grace Stearns, Vogue, "9 Holiday Gifts I Ordered for Myself (Because Some Things Just Can’t be Left to Chance)," 10 Dec. 2020 O’Hanlon also rejected rumors that Flournoy had any skeletons in her closet. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Michele Flournoy coronation was canceled by pressure to choose black defense secretary," 8 Dec. 2020 Kerry Washington has spent part of the pandemic recording Christmas carols in her closet. Lane Florsheim, WSJ, "Kerry Washington Designed Her Own Prom Dress," 7 Dec. 2020 A couple of years ago, my wife discovered that some pieces of jewelry were missing from a box in her closet. Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books, "The Mystery of the Missing Viola," 1 Dec. 2020 Chances are yesterday's doorbusters are taking up space in your closet today. Kate Santich,, "Holiday Giving," 30 Nov. 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

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Closet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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

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