Imagine a room in the shape of a pentagon, a bit taller than this one:

The angled walls are scarcely wider than the bedroom doorways set into them. The other connected rooms have no common theme, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining room. There's a cupboard built into one of the walls and on the opposite wall, a mirror concealing an auxiliary electric panel. There is a light switch for the connected bathroom, and another switch for the ceiling light. Aside from these things and a rug, the room is featureless.

Surely this isn't a hallway or corridor - there's an implication of length. I've begrudgingly accepted connecting room as a placeholder, at least it's not hub.

  • 1
    It could be called a lobby. It has various locations, but is an area with rooms leading off it. Oct 18 '20 at 22:59
  • 5
    It could also be called a hall, a term which has a wide usage from small to huge. Oct 18 '20 at 23:06
  • 1
    I've worked in a building where this kind of pass-through area was called a vestibule, but now I'm seeing definitions that call for it to be connected to the outside. Does it have a door that goes outside?
    – livresque
    Oct 18 '20 at 23:31
  • 3
    Also anteroom and foyer.
    – Xanne
    Oct 18 '20 at 23:42
  • 2
    @Mitch - Even though it states "taller" (vs. larger), I think it's a bird's-eye view (like a floor plan; not an elevation). Because the "angled walls" (not vaulted ceiling) are "scarcely wider" than the bedroom doors set in them, so it's a small area if it's proportional. It's just a hall or hallway then, in AmE.
    – KannE
    Oct 22 '20 at 3:47

To go through what it could be and eliminate what it can't be, there are a number of related words each with different nuances.

You are looking for a single word for a small room that connects to other rooms but has no purpose by itself.

  • vestibule, foyer, lobby, entrance - These are all near the entrance (or exactly so in one case). A vestibule is a little room right behind the entrance door, possibly to keep cold air out of the rest of the place (like an airlock) or as a coatroom or mudroom. A lobby is a large waiting area, like at the entrance of a hotel. A foyer is an entrance hall, sort of like a very small lobby for a personal home.

  • A passage or gallery is a long connecting space. It can be inside a building or the space between two buildings or a connecting corridor between two buildings but is covered.

  • A waiting room is a smallish room that is intended for waiting. IT is superficially similar to the others because it connect other rooms with specific purposes. But it is not simply a connector because it has its own purpose as being a place to wait to get into other rooms.

  • An antechamber sounds like it is part of a palace or pyramid, a waiting room before the main room

  • A hall (for at least one of its primary meanings) is (generically) a connecting room that you walk through to get to other rooms. It has the connotation of being longer than it is wide.

  • A hallway is identical logically to hallway and can replace 'hall' whenever that refers to the room. That is, if 'hall' is used for a building, you would not replace it with 'hallway')

  • A corridor is a long hallway (which, etymologically, you can 'run' down). It is formally identical to a long hall, but I can only express vaguely that it gives the feeling of being the space of the hall in addition to the function of a hall.

So these are explanations of meaning but it doesn't really do any good unless you show how it might be used for your purposes.

What would you call that place? I'd call it a 'room' (because yes, it feels like 'hall' should be longer or at least less mundane).

For example, how would you tell someone to go replace a fuse in the electrical panel. Where is the panel?

'Go find it in the room between the kitchen and the bedrooms'.

I'd also say 'Go find it in the hallway...'.

But if you're in the bedroom and you want somebody to leave for a moment:

'Please wait for me out in the hall.'

You wouldn't say 'out in the room' because you're in a room already.

  • Accepted! Not for room but for being the first to offer passage. Comparing image search results between "hallway floor plan" and "passage floor plan" I see a lot of overlap, but with a measurable skew for long straight hallway rooms and small or angled passage rooms. Oct 23 '20 at 11:36
  • @VasiliySharapov 'passage' might be a word to use that is accurate in meaning and is not a rare word, but it is not the first word that a native speaker would use for your description because it, like gallery or corridor or hallway, has a connotation of linearity (long and thin).
    – Mitch
    Oct 23 '20 at 13:25
  • 1
    A complicated "hallway" (msbarchitects.com/blog/hallways-transitions). Some transition spaces do have very specific names; e.g., a "Nave" (msbarchitects.com/blog/transition-spaces-0). Maybe there is one for this; it's a good question (and thorough answer, within our scope).
    – KannE
    Oct 23 '20 at 17:20

Does this room also connect to the main entrance? If it does, the word hall would do. One of the definitions of "hall" is "a passage or lobby at the entrance of a house" (Chambers).

If the top of a flight of stairs leads to this room, it could be described as a landing.


I like lobby and similarly suggest vestibule. Rather like other suggested words, it has a slightly more restricted meaning than you seek (in this case because of the “just inside a public” aspect of the definition, but is used more widely than the definition suggests.

a small room just inside the outer door of a public building where you can leave your coat, etc

Cambridge dictionary

  • Used far more widely, including trains: the "V" in the unit designation "4VEP" stands for vestibule, and that's not somewhere anyone is supposed to leave a coat.
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 19 '20 at 7:39

It sounds a bit antiquated, but 'antechamber' is a good fit (although could sound more than a bit pretentious).

As suggested by.Xanne 'anteroom' is a less formal synonym and might be more appropriate if you're not actually a mediaeval lord...

  • Ooh, it does sounds pretentious, but between this and vestibule I think it's less-wrong, making it my favorite so far. It does feel a bit like a preamble to the kitchen. Oct 19 '20 at 20:29
  • 1
    No. 'Antechamber' is conventionally a room you have to pass through to get to a single major room – a 2-node rather than a 5-node. Oct 22 '20 at 18:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.