Noun – Anteroom
Literally a “before-room,” an anteroom is a room you enter first, before you enter the main area of a building. It’s also sometimes called an antechamber.
If you’re talking figuratively, you can use “anteroom” to mean “a time, a place, or a situation that reminds you of a room you enter first.”
Why do anterooms exist? Lots of reasons! In hospitals, they keep out dirty air. In homes, they’re a good place to store shoes and coats. In indoor rides at theme parks, anterooms can entertain you before you get on the ride. And in schools and other protected places, anterooms can help the staff screen visitors before allowing them in.
Part of speech:
Noun, the countable kind: “Shoppers push their way through the anteroom.”
Sometimes you’ll see it with a hyphen: “ante-room.” And the plural is “anterooms.”
how to use it:
“Anteroom” helps us get extra-precise. Although its meaning is straightforward, it can suggest undertones of hiding, waiting, secrecy, power, control, and opulence.
To use “anteroom” literally, you might talk about anterooms to, of, or off certain other rooms, especially in formal buildings: banks, theaters, mansions, courtrooms, legislative buildings, etc.
And to use it figuratively, you might talk about a certain phase, situation, point in time, or stretch of time being an anteroom to, of, or off something else. If you’re in the anteroom, you’re further along than the person who’s got his foot in the door–but not by much.
“She…felt herself a prisoner in the anteroom of hell.”
— Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits, 1982
“Marc Freedman… is on a mission to reintegrate older people into the lives of younger ones. ‘Much of that whole conception (of age segregation) was invented… out of a real feeling that older people were superfluous. And it was invented so recently, within the last half a century or so: the idea being that people are kind of drifting through this anteroom to the great beyond.'”
— Maya Salam, quoting Marc Freedman, New York Times, 4 December 2018