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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — cloister

Good morning, Netizens...

November 22, 2012

Word of the Day

  • cloister
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KLOY-ster\


: to confine in or as if in a cloister : to shut away from the world

Julie declared that she was going to cloister herself and study as hard as she could until the exam.

"Cloistered for debate prep at a resort in Williamsburg, Va., the president devoted his weekly radio and internet address to the Obama administration's work to revive the U.S. auto industry." — From an Associated Press article by Nancy Benac and Kasie Hunt, October 13, 2012


"Cloister" first entered the English language as a noun in the 13th century; it referred then (as it still does) to a convent or monastery. More than three centuries later, English speakers began using the verb "cloister" to mean "to seclude in or as if in a cloister." Today the noun can also refer to the monastic life or to a covered and usually arched passage along or around a court. You may also encounter "cloistered" with the meaning "surrounded with a covered passage," as in "cloistered gardens." "Cloister" ultimately derives from the Latin verb "claudere," meaning "to close." Other words that can be traced back to the prolific "claudere" include "close," "conclude," "exclude," "include," "preclude," "seclude," and "recluse."

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.