shoe rack/shelf/locker/chest/trunk/cupboard/cabinet

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meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, these things probably don't exist or are uncommon in your country, but I'm curious to know what you would call them in English. First, someone recently asked the same question (with no details at all!) on a Japanese website where native and non-native English teachers answer English questions, and the teachers gave the following English translations (they were all native speakers, including South Africans):

- shoe rack
- shoe shelf
- shoe locker
- shoe storage chest/trunk
- shoe cupboard


And I'd like to add these to the list:

- shoe cabinet
- shoecase



Below are some photos of them and my guesses:

#1 (at home) -
A shoe rack?




#2 (at home) -
A shoe cupboard/chest or shoe cabinet?




#3 (at school) -
Shoe shelves or a shoecase (like bookcase)?




#4 (at Japanese bar - each compartment has a door and a lock)
- A shoe locker?




Example sentence:

- I have to clean the shoe xxx this afternoon.
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    1. shoe rack
    2. shoe cupboard
    3. pigeon-holes ("Put your shoes in a pigeon-hole.")
    4. shoe locker

    A chest or a trunk opens from the top - it has a lid.
    I have never heard of a shoe chest/trunk. I think they would be impractical.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks Paul. Do you actually have #3 (for the purpose of putting shoes) in the UK or did you call them pigeon-holes just because they resemble the ones hostels etc. use for sorting out letters?

    I'm interested to know what Americans, Australians, etc. call #2. (Do Americans also use the word "cupboard" for a piece of furniture placed outside the kitchen or dining room?)
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Pigeon-hole is used for any unit within a item that looks like #3. Pigeon-hole has extended its meaning beyond the "post" idea (although that is the main meaning). I have seen such things at golf-clubs, schools, and mosques for shoes, and at small specialised retailers for stock. I have a set of small ones in my shed in which I keep screws, nuts and bolts, etc in separate containers.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thanks Paul. Do you actually have #3 (for the purpose of putting shoes) in the UK or did you call them pigeon-holes just because they resemble the ones hostels etc. use for sorting out letters?

    I'm interested to know what Americans, Australians, etc. call #2. (Do Americans also use the word "cupboard" for a piece of furniture placed outside the kitchen or dinning room?)
    The shoe culture is different in Japan from most of the English speaking world, so the item you show in #2 might well be considered uniquely Japanese - it is at the entrance to the house here shoes are traditionaly taken off/put on: when you step up to the left and "enter", you are inside, where shoe are not worn, while on the stone floor, shoes are acceptable (that's why there are some shoes outside the cupboard/cabinet on the stone). So, this item will be described by English speakers only on occasions such as this thread, and there will be variation in such ad hoc descriptions. (Cupboards may be found in any room in a house:D) We have shoe cupboard but it's well inside the house but we do carry the shoes from there and put them on as we leave (we follow the Japanese way of "no shoes" in the house - we have a bench by the door for sitting down to put them on/take them off).
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    or cubbies
    :idea: - In BE - cubby hole (mainly a small place where something is hidden for safety, or a small enclosed space under the stairs of a house) but also especially in the plural: a small rectangular space to store things.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    (Cupboards may be found in any room in a house:D)
    I had to search for the posts I had seen a long time ago, and found them just now. I quote them below (from this thread: Wardrobe [=cupboard?]).

    A free-standing wardrobe is for clothes, but in a bedroom for example there may be a single row of fitted cupboards for storing various items, and cupboards used for hanging and storing clothes. The exterior of these built-in cupboards-cum-wardrobe may be uniform. I call these "bedroom cupboards". A "wardrobe" is designed for clothes only.
    That may be a strictly British usage. I don't think an American would ever expect to find a wardrobe in the kitchen or a cupboard in, of all places, the bedroom.
    I call the cupboards in my bedroom
    Having a "cupboard in the bedroom" sounds as bizarre to me as having a nightstand in the kitchen or an oven in the bathroom. :oops:

    The above comments discouraged me from using the word "cupboard" when referring to a cabinet that is placed in the bedroom, at the entrance, etc. and contains things that are totally unrelated to food/drinks. So I preferred to refer to #2 as a "shoe cabinet", but is it odd in BE?

    2. shoe cabinet
    Thanks for this. Did you find "shoe cupboard" not quite right in AmE?

    3. pukas or cubbies
    I didn't know these terms. Thanks for letting me know.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I had to search for the posts I had seen a long time ago, and found them just now. I quote them below (from this thread: Wardrobe [=cupboard?]).

    The above comments discouraged me from using the word "cupboard" when referring to a cabinet that is placed in the bedroom, at the entrance, etc. and contains things that are totally unrelated to food/drinks. So I preferred to refer to t#2 as a "shoe cabinet", but is it odd in BE?
    .
    Our shoe cupboard is floor to (almost) ceiling - way too tall to be a "cabinet" and growing up in England I recall our airing cupboard was in the bathroom, next to and warmed by, the water heater. At school, the stationery cupboard was next to the chemistry lab. I in no way restrict the word cupboard to food and drink :eek:
     
    Last edited:

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    There are too many items to discuss at in one thread, especially given the different terms used by different varieties of English.

    This thread is closed.

    Please search for previous threads on the individual terms.

    Cagey,
    moderator
     
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