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What's the difference between "cabinet" and "cupboard"?

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In the UK you would place government ministers in a cabinet but not a cupboard. :) – glenatron Nov 23 '10 at 12:43
I kind of expected this joke to show up here – brilliant Nov 23 '10 at 17:00
up vote 13 down vote accepted

A cupboard is a closed piece of furniture with one or more doors and possibly shelves. A cabinet is more like a closet, and might be built into a wall or a separate piece of furniture. Cabinets are typically considered general-purpose storage, while cupboards are more for food and dishes. The two are somewhat interchangeable, and you might say that a cupboard is a type of cabinet.

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+1, in other words, a cupboard is a cabinet for kitchen-related use – nohat Nov 22 '10 at 23:29
Yeah, what he said. – Jon Purdy Nov 22 '10 at 23:37
Perhaps there are regional variations, as I'd say that a cupboard is the more general-purpose receptacle, whereas a cabinet is more specific (e.g. medicine cabinet). – Steve Melnikoff Nov 23 '10 at 10:01
Thanks to everyone for the answers. – brilliant Nov 23 '10 at 10:55

In British English, a cupboard can be what Americans would call a 'closet'. See: cupboards and closets.

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WOW!!! Thanks for this link! – brilliant Nov 24 '10 at 1:54

A cupboard would be a cabinet with shelving where you would place cups plates and bowls. Where as a cabinet would have shelves but would be used for other items and in a kitchen is usually located below the counter tops. Also a cabinet would be used in other places in a home besides the kitchen for storing other items.

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protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 18:22

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