Cubby-hole used by Benny Benson
Modern cubby house designed for children's play[1]

A cubby-hole, cubby-house or cubby is a small play house, or play area, for children.[2] This may be constructed by the children themselves and used as a place of play.[3] Children may have a small shed, play-house or tent which they use as a cubby-house.[4] Children might build their own in various places in the house or garden, or have a pre-fabricated cubby. An Australian fictional treatment of the quest for the perfect cubby can be found in Ursula Dubosarsky's The Cubby House, illustrated by Mitch Vane.[5]


Possibly from the term "cub" in old English related to "stall, pen, cattle shed, coop, hutch".[6] "Cubby-hole" is sometimes written as one word (cubbyhole).

Meanings in various countries

In South Africa, cubby-hole or cubby is the word for a glove compartment in a vehicle. This usage is also common in Barbados, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, as well as parts of Southern Minnesota; Michigan; Madison, South Dakota; and Northwest Wyoming.

In the UK, Ireland and Canada, it may refer to the cupboard under the stairs. In Quebec, the French word cagibi, which is a contraction of cage à bijoux, and roughly translates as "jewel case", is synonymous with a triangular storage walk-in located directly under the inner stairs of a house.

In the United States, a cubby-hole most often refers to a small square or rectangle-shaped space where children may keep their personal belongings, such as in a preschool or kindergarten setting. These cubby-holes are often constructed out of the same materials as bookshelves and have a similar appearance save for the division of the cubbies themselves.

See also


  1. ^ Country, Cubbies. "Modern cubby house designs". Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  2. ^ "Of the Dorset dialect", Transactions of the Philological Society, B.Blackwell: 51, 1864
  3. ^ Karen Stagnitti (2000), Playthings, pp. 25–26, ISBN 978-1-876367-61-9
  4. ^ Gwenda Davey; Graham Seal (1993), The Oxford companion to Australian folklore, p. 90, ISBN 978-0-19-553057-5
  5. ^ The Cubby House: Aussie Nibbles Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Origin of English word CUBBYHOLE".