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See more synonyms for ajar on Thesaurus.com
adjective, adverb
  1. neither entirely open nor entirely shut; partly open: The door was ajar.
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Origin of ajar1

1350–1400; Middle English on char on the turn; see a-1, char3


adverb, adjective
  1. in contradiction to; at variance with: a story ajar with the facts.
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Origin of ajar2

1545–55; for at jar at discord; cf. jar3 (noun)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

open, unclosed

Examples from the Web for ajar

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The door was ajar, and he stepped into a little hall covered with ingrain carpet.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Then, as the door of the first reception-room was ajar, he at last ventured in.

  • It was broad daylight, and the door leading into the prim little hall was ajar.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • The hall door was ajar, and when I pushed it open, no one was in the hall.

  • The landing at the top was dark, but the door at the rear was ajar.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for ajar


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
  1. (esp of a door or window) slightly open
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Word Origin

C18: altered form of obsolete on char, literally: on the turn; char, from Old English cierran to turn


  1. (postpositive) not in harmony
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Word Origin

C19: altered form of at jar at discord. See jar ²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ajar

1718, perhaps from Scottish dialectal a char "slightly open," earlier on char (early 16c.), from Middle English char, from Old English cier "a turn."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper