garde·​robe | \ ˈgär-ˌdrōb How to pronounce garderobe (audio) \

Definition of garderobe

1 : a wardrobe or its contents
2 : a private room : bedroom
3 : privy sense 1 Sanitary facilities at Henry VIII's court of necessity had to be efficient, given the large numbers of people present. Garderobes were provided next to all the major rooms and in larger courtier lodgings …— Alison Weir

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Garderobe entered the English language in the 15th century and continues in use to this day, though its frequency has diminished significantly since the 19th century. Originally, its primary duty was to provide English speakers with a word for a room or closet in which to store clothing. Later, by extension, it was used for private bedrooms and bathrooms. Today you are most likely to encounter the word in a description of the privies of an old castle. "Garder," the French word for "guard" on which "garderobe" is based, has also served English well by directly contributing to the formation of such words as "award," "guard," "regard," and, yes, "wardrobe."

First Known Use of garderobe

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for garderobe

Middle English, from Old French, from garder to watch, guard + robe clothing

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The first known use of garderobe was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Garderobe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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