A cloakroom, or sometimes coatroom, is a room for people to hang their cloaks. They are typically found inside large buildings, such as gymnasiums, schools, churches or meeting halls.

In the UK a cloakroom may also be a lavatory. The word is often thought to be derived from the French cloaque (sewer)[citation needed]. However, it comes from the French cloque meaning travelling cloak[1].

Attended cloakrooms, or coat checks, are staffed rooms where coats and bags can be stored securely. Typically, a ticket is given to the customer, with a corresponding ticket attached to the garment or item. They are often found in nightclubs. A nominal fee is generally charged, or if not, a tip is usually paid by the customer when they reclaim their item.

The concept of the coat check was initiated by Albert Behar in the New York area shortly after the depression. Mr. Behar noticed that customers put their coats on the back of their chairs, and offered to store the coats for the customers in a small room adjoining the restaurant.[citation needed]


U.S. Congress

The United States Congress' cloakrooms are how the parties interact with the Congressmen while they are on the floor, and are used by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The cloakrooms serve as a place for congressmen to socialize, eat, and take naps without leaving the building.[2] These rooms are closed to all except Congressmen and a few of their trusted staffers, and have their own phone numbers.


In the United Kingdom, an estate agent will often use the word 'cloakroom' as a euphemism for a small, ground-floor lavatory of a house or to a secondary lavatory of an apartment.

At Fortnum & Mason, the gents’ lavatory is referred to as the “cloakroom”.[3] The term is still commonly used in hotels, stations, clubs, schools, museums and most other UK public venues in its traditional sense.


In India, cloak rooms are 24 hour manned facilities at railway stations where railway passengers can keep their luggage for a specific amount of time. This often suits day traders or pilgrims coming from smaller towns to larger cities and people waiting for a changeover to another train. Cloak rooms enable passengers to avoid carrying their luggage through the city while they conduct their business or tourism. The facility is operated by the Commercial Department of Indian Railways at all major railway stations; smaller railway stations may not have this facility. A clerk collects the luggage from the passengers alighting from a train at that station or passengers having a train from that station by verifying their tickets. The locked luggage bags are collected and a receipt is issued, mentioning the date and time the luggage was surrendered. The items are then stored on racks in the cloak room. Passengers are advised not to store valuable items or personal effects in the bags. On return, passengers show their receipt, pay the necessary charges to the clerk, and collect their items.[4]

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cloakroom — Cloak room , n. A room, attached to any place of public resort, where cloaks, overcoats, etc., may be deposited for a time. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cloakroom — 1852, from CLOAK (Cf. cloak) (n.) + ROOM (Cf. room) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • cloakroom — ► NOUN 1) a room in a public building where outdoor clothes and bags may be left. 2) Brit. a room that contains a toilet or toilets …   English terms dictionary

  • cloakroom — [klōk′ro͞om΄] n. a room where hats, coats, umbrellas, etc. can be left temporarily …   English World dictionary

  • cloakroom — [[t]klo͟ʊkruːm[/t]] cloakrooms 1) N COUNT In a public building, the cloakroom is the place where people can leave their coats, umbrellas, and so on. ...a cloakroom attendant. 2) N COUNT A cloakroom is a room containing toilets in a public… …   English dictionary

  • cloakroom — coatroom coatroom n. a room where coats and other articles can be left temporarily; called also {cloakroom}. Syn: cloakroom. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cloakroom — UK [ˈkləʊkˌruːm] / US [ˈkloʊkˌrum] noun [countable] Word forms cloakroom : singular cloakroom plural cloakrooms 1) a room in a theatre, restaurant etc where people can leave their coats 2) British a room with toilets in a theatre, restaurant etc …   English dictionary

  • cloakroom — noun Cloakroom is used before these nouns: ↑attendant …   Collocations dictionary

  • cloakroom — cloak|room [ˈkləukrum, ru:m US ˈklouk ] n 1.) a small room where you can leave your coat American Equivalent: coatroom 2.) BrE a room in a public building where there are toilets used when you want to be polite American Equivalent: rest room ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cloakroom —    a lavatory    Coats are often stored in or near lavatories:     To a small boy looking urgently for the cloakroom...(Jaeger, in Morley, 1976)    The shortened British form cloaks normally refers only to the place where outer garments are… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

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