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darken someone's door

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Come unwanted to someone's home, as in I told him to get out and never darken my door again. The verb darken here refers to casting one's shadow across the threshold, a word that occasionally was substituted for door. As an imperative, the expression is associated with Victorian melodrama, where someone (usually a young woman or man) is thrown out of the parental home for some misdeed, but it is actually much older. Benjamin Franklin used it in The Busybody (1729): “I am afraid she would resent it so as never to darken my doors again.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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