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Alternative forms[edit]


Recorded since about 1300, borrowed 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 derivation of the past participle of claudere (to close). Doublet of claustrum.



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]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


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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