Definition of garderobe in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡärdrōb/


1A lavatory in a medieval building.
Example sentences
  • For three days Kieran left the bed only to hobble down the hallway to the garderobe, leaning heavily on Michael's arm, shuffling in the remnants of his torn leather shoes.
  • People used to hang their clothes in a garderobe, a small room over the upper opening of the dross shoot, because the ammonia from urine used to kill lice,’ he said.
  • Five fragments of shaped animal gut were discovered during the excavation of the garderobe of the keep at Dudley Castle, which had been filled in in 1647.
1.1A wardrobe or small storeroom, especially in a medieval building.
Example sentences
  • After ushering me to the garderobe, she escorted me to one of several free tables.
  • He threw open the garderobe on the far wall and began riffling through it.
  • Even Tallis was unable to keep away, secreting himself inside a garderobe.


Late Middle English: French, from garder 'to keep' + robe 'robe, dress'; compare with wardrobe.

  • guard from Late Middle English:

    An Old Germanic element meaning ‘to watch, guard’ lies behind both guard and ward. Ward came into English from Old English weard ‘watchman, guard’. The sense ‘child protected by a guardian’ is late Middle English, and the sense of a hospital ward, where you are watched over by nurses or wardens, is mid 18th. Meanwhile, Germanic-speaking Franks had taken over areas of Europe that were mainly Romance speaking, and introduced the word into Romance. The w became a g(u) and the word became g(u)arde in Old French from which the g- forms were introduced into English. The g- and w- forms (found as alternatives in other words in modern French and English, as in the name William or Guillaume) are also found in warden (Middle English) and guardian (Late Middle English). Wardrobe (Late Middle English), a place where you look after clothes, has an alternative garderobe (Middle English). These were once interchangeable. However, garderobe is now mainly restricted to a term for a medieval lavatory. Wardrobe could have this sense in the past, for both words developed the sense of a small room where you could be private, and from there somewhere you could do something in private ( compare privy under private).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: garde·robe

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