Origin of opening

Middle English word dating back to 1125–75; see origin at open, -ing1
Related formspre·o·pen·ing, adjectiveself-o·pen·ing, adjectiveun·o·pen·ing, adjective

Synonyms for opening

Antonyms for opening


[oh-puh n]


not closed or barred at the time, as a doorway by a door, a window by a sash, or a gateway by a gate: to leave the windows open at night.
(of a door, gate, window sash, or the like) set so as to permit passage through the opening it can be used to close.
having no means of closing or barring: an open portico.
having the interior immediately accessible, as a box with the lid raised or a drawer that is pulled out.
relatively free of obstructions to sight, movement, or internal arrangement: an open floor plan.
constructed so as to be without cover or enclosure on the top or on some or all sides: an open boat.
having relatively large or numerous spaces, voids, or intervals: an open architectural screen; open ranks of soldiers.
perforated or porous: an open texture.
relatively unoccupied by buildings, fences, trees, etc.: open country.
not covered or closed; with certain parts apart: open eyes; open mouth.
without a covering, especially a protective covering; unprotected; unenclosed; exposed: an open wound; open electrical wires.
extended or unfolded: an open newspaper.
without restrictions as to who may participate: an open competition; an open session.
accessible or available to follow: the only course still open to us.
not taken or filled; not preempted; available; vacant: Which job is open?
ready for or carrying on normal trade or business: The new store is now open. The office is open on Saturdays.
not engaged or committed: Have you any open time on Monday?
accessible, as to appeals, ideas, or offers: to be open to suggestion.
exposed to general view or knowledge; existing, carried on, etc., without concealment: open disregard of the rules.
acting publicly or without concealment, as a person.
unreserved, candid, or frank, as persons or their speech, aspect, etc.: an open manner.
generous, liberal, or bounteous: to give with an open hand.
liable or subject: open to question; open to retaliation.
undecided; unsettled: several open questions.
without effective or enforced legal, commercial, or moral regulations: an open town.
unguarded by an opponent: an open wide receiver.
noting the part of the sea beyond headlands or enclosing areas of land: to sail on the open seas.
free of ice, as a body of water or a seaport.
free of navigational hazards: an open coast.
(of a seaport) available for foreign trade; not closed by government regulations or by considerations of health.
(of a microphone) in operation; live.
(of a delimiting punctuation mark) occurring at the beginning of a group of words or characters that is set off, as from surrounding text: open parenthesis; open quotes.Compare close(def 51).
not yet balanced or adjusted, as an account.
not constipated, as the bowels.
  1. (of a vowel) articulated with a relatively large opening above the tongue or with a relatively large oral aperture, as the vowel sound of cot compared with that in caught.
  2. (of a syllable) ending with a vowel.
  3. (of a consonant) continuant (opposed to stop).
Linguistics. (of a class of items) readily admitting new members, as the class of nouns, verbs, or adjectives (opposed to closed).
  1. (of type) in outline form.
  2. widely spaced or leaded, as printed matter.
  1. (of an organ pipe) not closed at the far end.
  2. (of a string) not stopped by a finger.
  3. (of a note) produced by such a pipe or string or, on a wind instrument, without the aid of a slide, key, etc.
  1. (of an interval) containing neither endpoint.
  2. (of a set) consisting of points having neighborhoods wholly contained in the set, as the set of points within a circle.
  3. (of a map from one topological space to another) having the property that the image of an open set is an open set.
free from frost; mild or moderate: an open winter.
Animal Husbandry. (of a female animal) not pregnant.
Textiles. (of a fabric or weave) so loosely woven that spaces are visible between warp and filling yarns.

verb (used with object)

to move (a door, window sash, etc.) from a shut or closed position so as to admit of passage.
to render (a doorway, gateway, window, etc.) unobstructed by moving a door, window sash, etc., away from it.
to render the interior of (a box, drawer, etc.) readily accessible.
to clear (a passage, channel, etc.) of obstructions.
to clear (areas or passages in the body).
to give access to; make accessible or available, as for use: to open a port for trade.
to establish for business purposes or for public use: to open an office.
to set in action, begin, start, or commence (sometimes followed by up): to open a campaign.
to uncover, lay bare, or expose to view.
to expand, unfold, or spread out: to open a map.
to make less compact, less closely spaced, or the like: to open ranks.
to disclose, reveal, or divulge.
to render accessible to knowledge, enlightenment, sympathy, etc.: to open one's mind.
to cut, blast, or break into: to open a safe with nitro.
to make or produce (an opening) by cutting or breaking, or by pushing aside or removing obstructions: to open a way through a crowd.
to make an incision or opening in: to open a boil.
  1. to recall or revoke (a judgment, decree, etc.) for the purpose of allowing further contest or delay.
  2. to make the first statement of (a case) to the court or jury.
Cards. to begin a hand by making (the first bid), placing (the first bet), or playing (a given card or suit) as the lead.
Nautical. to sail (a course) so that the apparent location of a distant fixed object changes with relation to a nearer fixed object (sometimes followed by out).

verb (used without object)

to become open, as a door, building, box, or enclosure.
to afford access: a door that opens into a garden.
to have an opening, passage, or outlet: The room opens into a corridor.
(of a building, theater, etc.) to open its doors to the public: The museum opens at one o'clock.
to begin a session or term, as a school.
to begin a season, series of performances, or tour, as a theatrical company: The play will open in Boston.
to begin, start, or commence an activity: The game opened with the national anthem.
to part, or seem to part, so as to allow or reveal a passage: At last the cliffs opened to show us that we were heading for the sea.
to become disclosed or revealed.
to come into view; become more visible or plain.
to become receptive to knowledge, sympathy, etc., as the mind.
to disclose or reveal one's knowledge, thoughts, feelings, etc.
to unfold or expand, as a blossom, so as to reveal the interior.
to spread out or expand, as the hand or a fan.
to spread apart or separate, as pages of a book, newspaper, etc.: Open to page 32.
to spread or come apart; burst: The wound opened.
to become less compact, less closely spaced, or the like: The ranks began to open.
Cards. to make the first bet, bid, or lead in beginning a hand.
Hunting. (of hounds) to begin to bark, as on the scent of game.


an open or clear space.
the open air.
the open water, as of the sea.
an opening or aperture.
an opening or opportunity.
a contest or tournament in which both amateurs and professionals may compete, especially in golf and tennis.
the open,
  1. the unenclosed or unobstructed country.
  2. the outdoors: Vacations in the open are fine for the entire family.
  3. the condition of being unconcealed, recognized, or publicly known: The scandal is now out in the open.

Verb Phrases

open up,
  1. to become or make open.
  2. to expand, especially before the eye: A breathtaking panorama opened up as we reached the top of the hill.
  3. to achieve the initial development of: to open up a business office; to open up trade with China.
  4. increase speed or the speed of (a vehicle).

Origin of open

before 900; (adj.) Middle English, Old English; cognate with Old Saxon opan (Dutch open), Old High German offan (German offen), Old Norse opinn, akin to up; (v.) Middle English openen, Old English openian; cognate with Old Saxon opanon (Dutch openen), Old High German offanōn (German öffnen)
Related formso·pen·ly, adverbo·pen·ness, nounhalf-o·pened, adjectivepre·o·pen, verb (used with object)self-o·pened, adjectivesem·i·o·pen, adjectivesem·i·o·pen·ly, adverbsem·i·o·pen·ness, nounun·o·pened, adjective

Synonyms for open

21. See frank1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for opening

Contemporary Examples of opening

Historical Examples of opening

  • Here's copper just closed at 93, after opening strong this morning at 105.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • What opening for extrication, unless, indeed, Emilia should die?


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Tulips are opening their variegated cups, and daffodils line the walls.

  • She started suddenly awake, seeming to have been roused by the opening of a door.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • It was strewn with pink buds; some just opening into beauty, some half-blown.

British Dictionary definitions for opening



the act of making or becoming open
a vacant or unobstructed space, esp one that will serve as a passageway; gap
mainly US a tract in a forest in which trees are scattered or absent
the first part or stage of something
  1. the first performance of something, esp a theatrical production
  2. (as modifier)the opening night
a specific or formal sequence of moves at the start of any of certain games, esp chess or draughts
an opportunity or chance, esp for employment or promotion in a business concern
law the preliminary statement made by counsel to the court or jury before adducing evidence in support of his case



not closed or barredthe door is open
affording free passage, access, view, etc; not blocked or obstructedthe road is open for traffic
not sealed, fastened, or wrappedan open package
having the interior part accessiblean open drawer
extended, expanded, or unfoldedan open newspaper; an open flower
ready for businessthe shops are open
able to be obtained; availablethe position advertised last week is no longer open
unobstructed by buildings, trees, etcopen countryside
free to all to join, enter, use, visit, etcan open competition
unengaged or unoccupiedthe doctor has an hour open for you to call
not decided or finalizedan open question
ready to entertain new ideas; not biased or prejudicedan open mind
unreserved or candidshe was very open in her description
liberal or generousan open hand
extended or eager to receive (esp in the phrase with open arms)
exposed to view; blatantopen disregard of the law
liable or susceptibleyou will leave yourself open to attack if you speak
(of climate or seasons) free from frost; mild
free from navigational hazards, such as ice, sunken ships, etcopen water
US without legal restrictions or enforceable regulations, esp in relation to gambling, vice, etcan open town
without barriers to prevent abscondingan open prison
having large or numerous spacing or aperturesopen ranks
full of small openings or gaps; porousan open texture
printing (of type matter) generously leaded or widely spaced
  1. (of a violin or guitar string) not stopped with the finger
  2. (of a pipe, such as an organ pipe) not closed at either end
  3. (of a note) played on such a string or pipe
  1. in operation; activean open account
  2. unrestricted; unlimitedopen credit; open insurance cover
(of a return ticket) not specifying a date for travel
  1. (of a goal, court, etc) unguarded or relatively unprotectedthe forward missed an open goal
  2. (of a stance, esp in golf) characterized by the front of the body being turned forward
(of a wound) exposed to the air
(esp of the large intestine) free from obstruction
undefended and of no military significancean open city
  1. denoting a vowel pronounced with the lips relatively wide apart
  2. denoting a syllable that does not end in a consonant, as in pa
chess (of a file) having no pawns on it
maths (of a set) containing points whose neighbourhood consists of other points of the same setpoints inside a circle are an open set
computing (of software or a computer system) designed to an internationally agreed standard in order to allow communication between computers, irrespective of size, maufacturer, etc


to move or cause to move from a closed or fastened positionto open a window
(when intr, foll by on or onto) to render, be, or become accessible or unobstructedto open a road; to open a parcel; the door opens into the hall
(intr) to come into or appear in viewthe lake opened before us
(tr) to puncture (a boil) so as to permit drainage
to extend or unfold or cause to extend or unfoldto open a newspaper
to disclose or uncover or be disclosed or uncoveredto open one's heart
to cause (the mind) to become receptive or (of the mind) to become receptive
to operate or cause to operateto open a shop
(when intr, sometimes foll by out) to make or become less compact or dense in structureto open ranks
to set or be set in action; startto open a discussion; to open the batting
(tr) to arrange for (a bank account, savings account, etc) usually by making an initial deposit
to turn to a specified point in (a book, magazine, etc)open at page one
law to make the opening statement in (a case before a court of law)
(intr) cards to bet, bid, or lead first on a hand


the open any wide or unobstructed space or expanse, esp of land or water
sport a competition which anyone may enter
bring into the open to make evident or public
come into the open to become) evident or public
See also open up
Derived Formsopenable, adjectiveopenly, adverbopenness, noun

Word Origin for open

Old English; related to Old French open, epen, Old Saxon opan, Old High German offan
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 opening

Old English openung "act of opening" (a door, mouth, etc.), "disclosure, manifestation," verbal noun from present participle of open (v.). Meaning "vacant space, hole, aperture, doorway" is attested from c.1200. Meaning "act of opening (a place, to the public)" is from late 14c. Sense of "action of beginning (something)" is from 1712; meaning "first performance of a play" is 1855; "start of an art exhibit" is from 1905. Sense of "opportunity, chance" is from 1793.



early 13c., "an aperture or opening," from open (adj.). Meaning "public knowledge" (especially in out in the open) is from 1942, but cf. Middle English in open (late 14c.) "manifestly, publicly." The sense of "an open competition" is from 1926, originally in a golf context.



Old English openian "to open, open up, disclose, reveal," also intransitive, "become manifest, be open to or exposed to," from Proto-Germanic *opanojan (cf. Old Saxon opanon, Old Norse opna "to open," Middle Dutch, Dutch openen, Old High German offanon, German öffnen), from the source of open (adj.), but etymology suggests the adjective is older. Open up "cease to be secretive" is from 1921. Related: Opened; opening.



Old English open "not closed down, raised up" (of gates, eyelids, etc.), also "exposed, evident, well-known, public," often in a bad sense, "notorious, shameless;" from Proto-Germanic *upana, literally "put or set up" (cf. Old Norse opinn, Swedish öppen, Danish aaben, Old Saxon opan, Old Frisian epen, Old High German offan, German offen "open"), from PIE *upo "up from under, over" (cf. Latin sub, Greek hypo; see sub-). Related to up, and throughout Germanic the word has the appearance of a past participle of *up (v.), but no such verb has been found. The source of words for "open" in many Indo-European languages seems to be an opposite of the word for "closed, shut" (e.g. Gothic uslukan).

Of physical spaces, "unobstructed, unencumbered," c.1200; of rooms with unclosed entrances, c.1300; of wounds, late 14c. Transferred sense of "frank, candid" is attested from early 14c. Of shops, etc., "available for business," it dates from 1824. Open-handed "liberal, generous" is from c.1600. Open door in reference to international trading policies is attested from 1856. Open season is first recorded 1896, of game; and figuratively 1914 of persons. Open book in the figurative sense of "person easy to understand" is from 1853. Open house "hospitality for all visitors" is first recorded 1824. Open-and-shut "simple, straightforward" first recorded 1841 in New Orleans. Open marriage, one in which the partners sleep with whomever they please, is from 1972. Open road (1817, American English) originally meant a public one; romanticized sense of "traveling as an expression of personal freedom" first recorded 1856, in Whitman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for opening




The act or an instance of becoming unobstructed or of being made to open.
An open space that serves as a passage or gap.
A breach or aperture.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with opening


In addition to the idioms beginning with open

  • open and aboveboard
  • open and shut
  • open book
  • open doors
  • open fire
  • open house, keep
  • open mind
  • open one's eyes
  • open one's heart to
  • open one's mouth
  • open question
  • open season on
  • open secret
  • open the door to
  • open up
  • open with

also see:

  • keep a weather eye (open)
  • keep one's eyes open
  • lay open
  • leave open
  • leave the door open
  • not open one's mouth
  • out in the open
  • throw open
  • wide open
  • with one's eyes open
  • with open arms
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.