a covered walk, especially in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade usually opening onto a courtyard.
a courtyard, especially in a religious institution, bordered with such walks.
a place of religious seclusion, as a monastery or convent.
any quiet, secluded place.
life in a monastery or convent.
verb (used with object)
to confine in a monastery or convent.
to confine in retirement; seclude.
to furnish with a cloister or covered walk.
to convert into a monastery or convent.

1250–1300; Middle English cloistre < Anglo-French, Old French, blend of cloison partition (see cloisonné) and clostre (< Latin claustrum barrier (Late Latin: enclosed place); see claustrum)

cloisterless, adjective
cloisterlike, adjective

3. abbey, priory. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cloister (ˈklɔɪstə)
1.  a covered walk, usually around a quadrangle in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade on the inside and a wall on the outside
2.  (sometimes plural) a place of religious seclusion, such as a monastery
3.  life in a monastery or convent
4.  (tr) to confine or seclude in or as if in a monastery
[C13: from Old French cloistre, from Medieval Latin claustrum monastic cell, from Latin: bolt, barrier, from claudere to close; influenced in form by Old French cloison partition]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. clostre or O.E. clauster, both from M.L. claustrum "portion of monastery closed off to laity," from L. claustrum "place shut in, bar, bolt, enclosure," from pp. stem of claudere (see close (v.)). Sense of "enclosed space" extended to "place of religious
seclusion." The verb is recorded from 1581.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It was a stable block, not a cloister and terrace walks.
But at that moment it was as calm and quiet as a monastery cloister.
The monastic school for externs was in a building apart from the cloister.
These were connected with the original library building with a cloister.
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