Definition of closet in English:


Syllabification: clos·et
Pronunciation: /ˈkläzət


1chiefly North American A cupboard or wardrobe, especially one tall enough to walk into.
More example sentences
  • Spare bedrooms or large closets make good drying rooms, but hot attics and damp cellars generally do not.
  • Houses that don't have catch-all closets or rooms in which the inhabitants can dump outdoor stuff always seem sinister to me.
  • Close doors to rooms that don't need to be heated, like closets, storage rooms, etc.
1.1A small room, especially one used for storing things or for private study.
More example sentences
  • Another described the huts of hermits on remote islands off the coast of Ireland and asked if I was constructing a prayer closet.
  • And since last night, the bearded mentor had sequestered himself in his prayer closet, taking only water as he fasted.
  • She placed the belongings in an empty cubbyhole in the private closet with a label indicating the pile's owners.
1.2 dated short for water closet.
More example sentences
  • some persons will use the closet twice daily
  • the stench from the overcrowding or from closets is almost unbearable
2 (the closet) A state of secrecy or concealment, especially about one’s homosexuality: lesbians who had come out of the closet
More example sentences
  • It's time for lesbian breakups to come out of the closet.
  • It is a symbol of the strength it takes for gay Americans to come out of the closet, and the strength of all who support them.
  • An obvious, but often overlooked, fact about assimilation is that it can only occur once gay people have actually come out of the closet.


[attributive] Back to top  
Secret; covert: a closet alcoholic
More example sentences
  • There may be closet homosexuals but they are not to be relied upon.
  • The church has been ordaining closet homosexuals for 2000 years, but it seems to have problems ordaining honest ones.
  • He's obviously terrible in bed, and there's one scene that suggests he's a closet homosexual - so what's to admire?

verb (closets, closeting, closeted)

[with object] Back to top  
Shut (someone) away, especially in private conference or study: he was closeted with the king he returned home and closeted himself in his room
More example sentences
  • She added: ‘We have all been so affected by the tragedy that we risk closeting our kids and raising a generation of very nervous young adults.’
  • He responded by closeting himself in the former ladies' cabin of the steamer Magnolia while he poured over maps pondering the situation.
  • I guess it was time for me to sulk about the house of the rest of the evening, closeting myself away in my room listening to music.
shut away, sequester, seclude, cloister, confine, isolate


late Middle English (denoting a private or small room): from Old French, diminutive of clos 'closed' (see close1).

Definition of closet in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day oleaginous
Pronunciation: ˌəʊlɪˈadʒɪnəs
rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily