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Recorded since c.1300, directly from Old French cloistre, clostre or via Old English clauster, both from Medieval Latin claustrum "portion of monastery closed off to laity," from Latin claustrum, "place shut in, bar, bolt, enclosure", a noun use of the past participle (neutral inflection) of claudere ‘to close’.



cloister ‎(plural cloisters)

  1. A covered walk with an open colonnade on one side, running along the walls of buildings that face a quadrangle; especially:
    1. such arcade in a monastery
    2. such arcade fitted with representations of the stages of Christ's Passion
  2. A place, especially a monastery or convent, devoted to religious seclusion.
  3. (figuratively) The monastic life

Derived terms[edit]


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cloister ‎(third-person singular simple present cloisters, present participle cloistering, simple past and past participle cloistered)

  1. (intransitive) To become a Roman Catholic religious.
  2. (transitive) To confine in a cloister, voluntarily or not.
  3. (intransitive) To deliberately withdraw from worldly things.
  4. (transitive) To provide with (a) cloister(s).
    The architect cloistered the college just like the monastery which founded it
  5. (transitive) To protect or isolate.


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