adjective, adverb

neither entirely open nor entirely shut; partly open: The door was ajar.

Origin of ajar

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



adverb, adjective

in contradiction to; at variance with: a story ajar with the facts.

Origin of ajar

1545–55; for at jar at discord; cf. jar3 (noun)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ajar

Contemporary Examples of ajar

  • The former girlfriend of Ajar, Ames was also friends with Roy Lopez, the other alleged “fence,” and buddies with Lee.

  • Postscript: According to his Instagram and Facebook feed, Ajar is still living large.

  • Nothing especially surprising there, except that she kept opening the door instead of leaving it ajar while cleaning.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Martyrdom of DSK

    Christopher Dickey

    July 5, 2011

Historical Examples of ajar

  • 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)

(esp of a door or window) slightly open

Word Origin for ajar

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




(postpositive) not in harmony

Word Origin for ajar

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper