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pigeonhole

[pij-uh n-hohl] /ˈpɪdʒ ənˌhoʊl/
noun
1.
one of a series of small, open compartments, as in a desk, cabinet, or the like, used for filing or sorting papers, letters, etc.
2.
a hole or recess, or one of a series of recesses, for pigeons to nest in.
3.
Also called pigeon hole, white hole. Printing. white space created by setting words or lines too far apart.
verb (used with object), pigeonholed, pigeonholing.
4.
to assign to a definite place or to definite places in some orderly system:
to pigeonhole new ideas.
5.
to lay aside for use or reference at some later, indefinite time:
We must pigeonhole this excellent plan until the time is ripe.
6.
to put aside for the present, especially with the intention of ignoring or forgetting, often indefinitely:
to pigeonhole an unwanted invitation.
7.
to place in or as if in a pigeonhole or pigeonholes:
to pigeonhole papers.
8.
to fit or provide with pigeonholes:
The desk must be pigeonholed for all my papers.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; pigeon1 + hole
Synonyms
4. categorize, catalog. 5. file. 6. postpone, shelve.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pigeon-hole

pigeonhole

/ˈpɪdʒɪnˌhəʊl/
noun
1.
a small compartment for papers, letters, etc, as in a bureau
2.
a hole or recess in a dovecote for pigeons to nest in
3.
(informal) a category or classification
verb (transitive)
4.
to put aside or defer
5.
to classify or categorize, esp in a rigid manner
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pigeon-hole
n.

also pigeonhole, 1570s, "a small recess for pigeons to nest in," from pigeon + hole (n.). Meaning "a compartment in a writing desk," etc. is from 1680s, based on resemblance. The verb is from 1840 literally; figurative sense of "label mentally" is from 1870.

[Y]ou will have an inspector after you with note-book and ink-horn, and you will be booked and pigeon-holed for further use when wanted. ["Civilisation--The Census," "Blackwood's Magazine," Oct. 1854]
Related: Pigeonholed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pigeon-hole

pigeonhole

verb
  1. To classify; identify; button down, peg: I pigeonhole this clown as a total bigmouth (1870+)
  2. To put away or aside (1855+)

[fr the separate compartments of a desk or sorting system, likened to the orifices in a pigeoncote]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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