early 14c., "room where wearing apparel is kept," earlier "a private chamber" (c. 1300), from Old North French warderobe, wardereube (Old French garderobe) "dressing-room, place where garments are kept," from warder "to keep, guard" (from Proto-Germanic *wardon "to guard," from suffixed form of PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for") + robe "garment" (see robe (n.)). Meaning "a person's stock of clothes for wearing" is recorded from c. 1400. Sense of "movable closed cupboard for wearing apparel" is recorded from 1794. Meaning "room in which theatrical costumes are kept" is attested from 1711. Wardrobe malfunction is from 2004.
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