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From Middle English caban, cabane, from Old French cabane, from Medieval Latin capanna (a cabin); see further etymology there. Doublet of cabana.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkæbɪn/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -æbɪn



cabin (plural cabins)

  1. (US) A small dwelling characteristic of the frontier, especially when built from logs with simple tools and not constructed by professional builders, but by those who meant to live in it.
    Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin.
    • 1994, Michael Grumley, “Life Drawing”, in Violet Quill:
      And that was how long we stayed in the cabin, pressed together, pulling the future out of each other, sweating and groaning and making sure each of us remembered.
  2. (informal) A chalet or lodge, especially one that can hold large groups of people.
  3. A private room on a ship.
    the captain's cabin:  Passengers shall remain in their cabins.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, →OCLC:
      There is an hour or two, after the passengers have embarked, which is disquieting and fussy. Mail bags, so I understand, are being put on board. Stewards, carrying cabin trunks, swarm in the corridors. Passengers wander restlessly about or hurry, with futile energy, from place to place.
  4. The interior of a boat, enclosed to create a small room, particularly for sleeping.
  5. The passenger area of an airplane.
  6. (travel, aviation) The section of a passenger plane having the same class of service.
  7. (rail transport, informal) A signal box.
  8. A small room; an enclosed place.
  9. (India) A private office; particularly of a doctor, businessman, lawyer, or other professional.
    • 2008 November 15, Tony Thakaran, “Dasvidaniya: A bittersweet slice of middle-class life”, in Reuters Blogs[1]:
      There’s Kaul’s boss, the overweight owner of a pharmaceutical firm who spends his days wolfing down junk food in the privacy of his cabin.


The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. For synonyms and antonyms you may use the templates {{syn|en|...}} or {{ant|en|...}}.

Derived terms



  • French: cabine (see there for further descendants)
  • Japanese: キャビン (kyabin)
  • Korean: 캐빈 (kaebin)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



cabin (third-person singular simple present cabins, present participle cabining, simple past and past participle cabined)

  1. (transitive) To place in a cabin or other small space.
  2. (by extension) To limit the scope of.
    • 2019, Sonia Sotomayor, dissenting, Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, page 16, note 11:
      There was a time when this Court’s precedents may have portended the kind of First Amendment liability for purely private property owners that the majority spends so much time rejecting. [] But the Court soon stanched that trend. See Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner, 407 U. S. 551, 561–567 (1972) (cabining Marsh and refusing to extend Logan Valley); Hudgens v. NLRB, 424 U. S. 507, 518 (1976) (making clear that “the rationale of Logan Valley did not survive” Lloyd).
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To live in, or as if in, a cabin; to lodge.

See also


Further reading