Definition of pigeonhole in English:


Line breaks: pigeon|hole
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪʤɪnhəʊl


  • 1A small recess for a domestic pigeon to nest in.
    More example sentences
    • It's fortunate that they set up those pigeonholes because some of the pigeons have come home to roost.
    • Her route in the north tower has been transformed into a 6ft-by - 6ft steel cubicle (called a ‘sorting case’) surrounded by tall metal racks of pigeonholes.
    • The ladder structure and the thousands of pigeonholes lining the inside are an amazing sight.
  • 2Each of a set of small open-fronted compartments in a workplace or other organization where letters or messages may be left for individuals.
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    • Every morning I'd check my pigeonhole in case the letter had finally arrived telling me that a distant relative had died and I was now the heir to a title and a vast estate.
    • It is basically one long corridor with a few alleys off the side. Right in the middle of it is an area called ‘the boxes’, which is a row of large pigeonholes for all the various media organisations where people leave their media releases.
    • Two weeks later I found his six pages of tightly typed notes in my pigeonhole.
    cubbyhole, compartment, slot, locker, niche
  • 2.1A compartment built into a desk for keeping documents in.
    More example sentences
    • Putting our heads together, we came up with a construct rather like an old-fashioned pigeonhole desk that fits neatly between the forward cabin bulkheads.
    • The interior, which features a lighter wood - probably maple - is the most ambitious element of the desk, with stepped drawers, shaped pigeonhole valances, and a secret compartment.
    • It has a cross-banded panel that falls down and a section behind it pulls out to reveal a fitted interior of pigeonholes above drawers flanking a central section of nine drawers arranged in three rows.
  • 3A category, typically an overly restrictive one, to which someone or something is assigned: people identified me with a homely farmer’s wife and I could never escape that pigeonhole
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    • Each composer is placed in a pigeonhole or assigned to a particular school, while those who do not fit comfortably under any of the standard-isms get a category all to themselves.
    • The half-hour quiz show was a chance for Jane to escape her pigeonhole as that Yorkshire lass who sings ballads.
    • But only those who are both exceptionally talented and exceptionally savvy can escape the ethnic pigeonhole.


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  • 1Assign to a particular category, typically an overly restrictive one: I was pigeonholed as a ‘youth writer’
    More example sentences
    • However, the artist was not pleased to be pigeonholed as simply a cartoonist, particularly as this categorisation intensified in the public's mind - he took his other work just as seriously, and wanted to extend his repertoire further.
    • I don't mind being pigeonholed as long as people buy it and enjoy it.
    • I am an attractive girl working in the media who happens to be a lesbian, but I did not want to be pigeonholed as a ‘gay voice‘.
    categorize, compartmentalize, classify, characterize, label, brand, tag, designate, grade, codify, sort, rank, rate

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