I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe a place that is cut off from the outdoors.

This is the situation: my desk at work is not near any windows, so I can't tell if it's sunny, raining, light or dark outside. Sometimes I like this state of affairs (such as when it is pouring outside), and sometimes it would be nice to feel more connected to the outdoors (such as when it is gorgeous outside).

What is a word or phrase that describes a location like this?

  • 1
    You can say you feel a bit of cabin fever or claustrophobic.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 9, 2014 at 14:37
  • 1
    we often refer to this as feeling as though you are in a "bubble."
    – Rusty Tuba
    Dec 9, 2014 at 17:13
  • 1
    You could describe that environment as insular: Relating to or from an island.
    – Carl Smith
    Dec 9, 2014 at 17:43
  • 2
    A bubble normally describes a more illusory environment. Being in an office with no windows isn't really like being in a bubble.
    – Carl Smith
    Dec 9, 2014 at 17:45
  • 1
    "Entombed" is how I felt in the center core of Building 15 (my old office).
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 9, 2014 at 22:59

13 Answers 13


In addition to "sheltered", the word cloistered describes the condition of being cut off from the outside world.

cloistered adjective 1. secluded from the world; sheltered: "a cloistered life."

(from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cloistered)

In addition to separation from outside, natural elements (weather, landscapes, etc.), it can also describe separation from outside events (news, pop culture, human contact).


I would say that you feel shut-in.



denotes that no air can get in or out. But often its connotation is that nothing, including information, can get in or out.

  • 1
    Are hermits hermetic?
    – CJ Dennis
    Dec 10, 2014 at 9:42

This answer is for the specific case that you provided of an office at work that has no windows. That is usually called an "interior office".

Here are a few examples I found to support this definition:

  • Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth George, 2009. Page 188: "As it was an interior office, there were no windows."
  • The Aiken and Burnettown Murders by D. R. Beavers, 2014. Chapter 6: "It was an interior office, so there were no windows."
  • Media Space 20+Years of Mediated Life by Steve Harrison, 2009. Page 152: "... in someone's interior office (an inside office without windows) ..."
  • +1 for providing the only non-poetic answer.
    – Carl Smith
    Dec 9, 2014 at 17:47

try "Entombed" i think it fits your criteria

  • ......in a grave or tomb ?
    – Misti
    Dec 9, 2014 at 18:25
  • 1
    It's a very dramatic word, but it could work if everyone involved in the conversation understands that it's not meant literally. Dec 9, 2014 at 18:26
  • 3
    Given OP is sitting at a desk in the middle of an office building, the metaphoric strength of this answer hits pretty close to home...
    – corsiKa
    Dec 9, 2014 at 23:58

sarcophagean - if the isolation is really oppressive


You could use the word "troglodytic", based on "troglodyte", which means cave-dweller. While your office isn't actually a cave (and I assume you don't live in a cave), the meaning could imply that your office is like a cave, in the sense that it is cut off from trees and grass and sunshine:

I have to get out for a 15 minute walk at lunch because the lack of windows in the place makes it feel troglodytic.

Using the word in this context might be a bit dramatic, but sometimes, that's what you want. ;)


Suggestions for words meaning to be cut off from the outside: Enclosed? Sequestered?

  • 4
    Sequestered is an excellent suggestion, but this answer needs a bit of work. You should consider adding a definition and possibly linking to the word on a site like dictionary.com. You might also consider using the word in a sentence or giving some other idea of the context in which the word might be used. Dec 9, 2014 at 19:12

Whenever I leave a theater and am surprised that it’s still bright outside I attribute the feeling to the temporary sensory isolation that I’ve just experienced from having been in a perceptually isolated or perceptually sheltered environment for the last two hours.


shut in - evokes that "cabin fever" feeling

  • 2
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    – choster
    Dec 10, 2014 at 17:22

When you are insulated from the outside, you are physically prevented from interacting from the outside. Insulation separates two otherwise potentially reactive entities from ever coming into contact with one another.

Below is a definition taken from, and linking to, Google's search term "define insulated".


In some ways, an insulator it is the opposite of a conductor in terms of, for example, heat or electricity, and in other ways an insulator is the opposite of a catalyst, which starts, and/or speeds up, the reaction between two or more reactants.

In the middle of the office, you are most certainly insulated from the outside world.


The term used for internet modems that have been disconnected from the outside world is "Walled Garden" meaning that you're in a walled garden and not able to get out, it's kind of interesting imagery.

  • Interesting perhaps, but not applicable to this situation. (Saying “I work in a walled garden” would not give others the impression that one works in a place where the outdoors cannot be seen.) Dec 9, 2014 at 21:56
  • The "garden" is outside the walls in this instance, not inside. Dec 10, 2014 at 1:46

Both a "hermit" and a "recluse" can mean a person who lives in seclusion from society, infers that they "don't get out much"

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