Meaning of OPEN in English


I. o ‧ pen 1 S1 W1 /ˈəʊpən $ ˈoʊ-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : the open, ↑ opener , ↑ opening , ↑ openness ; adjective : ↑ open , ↑ opening , ↑ unopened ; verb : ↑ open ; adverb : ↑ openly ]

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . DOOR/CONTAINER ETC not closed, so that things, people, air etc can go in and out or be put in and out OPP closed , shut :

He threw the door open and ran down the stairs.

an open window

The gates swung silently open.

The bar door flew open and a noisy group burst in.

All the windows were wide open (=completely open) .

She looked at the open suitcase with surprise.

There was an open bottle of wine on the table.

2 . EYES/MOUTH not closed, so that your ↑ eyelid s or your lips are apart:

I was so sleepy, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

He was fast asleep with his mouth wide open.

3 . NOT ENCLOSED [only before noun] not enclosed, or with no buildings, walls, trees etc:

There was open ground at the end of the lane.

open spaces such as parks and gardens

open countryside/country

At weekends people want to leave the town for open countryside.

A shoal of fish swam past heading for the open sea (=part of the sea away from land) .

The car’s performance is good, especially going fast on the open road (=a road without traffic where you can drive fast) .

4 . NOT COVERED without a roof or cover:

The president was riding with his wife in an open car.

Martin was struggling with the sails on the open deck.

an open drain

open to the sky/air/elements

Many of the tombs had been robbed and left open to the sky.

5 . the open air outdoors

in the open air

The dancing was outside, in the open air.

Jane wanted to rush to the door and get out into the open air.

⇨ ↑ open-air

6 . BUSINESS/BUILDING ETC [not before noun] ready for business and allowing customers, visitors etc to enter OPP closed , shut :

The museum is open daily in the summer months.

The offices are also open at weekends.

After the security alert, most of the firms affected were open for business on Monday morning.

The villagers are anxious that their local school is kept open.

I declare this exhibition open (=officially say that it is now open) .

7 . NOT RESTRICTED allowing everyone, or everyone in a group, to take part in something, know about something, or have a chance to win something

open to

The competition is open to all readers in the UK.

In many schools, governors’ meetings are not open to the public.

The discussion was then thrown open for the audience’s questions.

an open meeting

The men’s race appears wide open (=anyone could win it) .

The painting would fetch several hundred dollars on the open market (=a market in which anyone can buy or sell) .

8 . OPPORTUNITY [not before noun] if an opportunity, a possible action, a job etc is open to you, you have the chance to do it:

The job is being kept open for her.

open to

The 1960s was a period when greater opportunities were open to women.

So what other options are open to us?

There is only one course of action open to the local authority.

9 . NOT SECRET [only before noun] actions, feelings, intentions etc that are open are not hidden or secret:

Her father watched her with open admiration.

open hostility between the two nations

The party was calling for more open government (=when the government makes information freely available) .

The case will be tried in open court (=in a court where everything is public) .

It is an open secret (=it is supposed to be secret, but most people know about it) that she is having an affair with another man.

10 . HONEST honest and not wanting to hide any facts from other people

open with

The couple are quite open with each other about their feelings.

open about

She was quite open about her ambitions.

his friendly, open manner

11 . CLOTHES not fastened:

the open neck of his shirt

She was wearing an open jacket.

12 . NOT YET DECIDED needing more discussion or thought before a decision can be made:

The matter remains an open question.

open to

The new rates of pay are open to negotiation.

The test results are open to interpretation.

keep/leave your options open

Officers investigating her death are keeping their options open.

13 . open to something

a) likely to suffer from something or be affected by something:

The magazine’s editor is open to criticism in allowing the article to be printed.

The regulations are open to abuse by companies.

He has left himself open to accusations of dishonesty.

b) willing to consider something new or to accept something new:

Teachers need to be open to children’s ideas.

The committee is open to suggestions.

The owners of the building want to sell and are open to offers.

14 . NOT BLOCKED if a road or line of communication is open, it is not blocked and can be used:

We try to keep the mountain roads open all through the winter.

15 . SPREAD APART spread apart instead of closed, curled over etc:

At night the flowers were open.

Johnson raised an open hand.

He was sitting in bed with a book lying open (=with its pages apart so it can be read) on his knees.

16 . an open mind if you have an open mind, you deliberately do not make a decision or form a definite opinion about something:

It’s important to keep an open mind as you study the topic.

17 . be open to question/doubt if something is open to question, there are doubts about it:

Whether the new situation is an improvement is open to question.

18 . welcome/greet somebody/something with open arms to be very pleased to see someone or something:

Mike will be welcomed back into the team with open arms.

19 . an open invitation

a) an invitation to visit someone whenever you like

b) something that makes it easier for criminals to steal, cheat etc

an open invitation to

The lack of security measures provides an open invitation to crime.

20 . be an open book to be something that you know and understand very well:

The natural world was an open book to him.

21 . the door is open there is an opportunity for someone to do something

the door is open to

Schoolgirls are being told that the door is open to them to pursue careers in science.

22 . keep your eyes/ears open to keep looking or listening so that you will notice anything that is important, dangerous etc

23 . open weave/texture cloth with an open weave or texture has wide spaces between the threads

⇨ keep an eye open (for something) at ↑ eye 1 (14), ⇨ with your eyes open at ↑ eye 1 (19), ⇨ ↑ open-eyed

• • •


■ not hiding the truth or the facts

▪ honest saying what you really think and not hiding the truth or the facts:

I’m going to ask you something, and I want you to be honest with me.


an honest answer


To be honest, I didn’t think his speech was very good.

▪ straight informal honest and saying what you really think:

I can’t help you if you’re not straight with me.


I need a straight answer.

▪ open willing to talk about what you think, feel etc in an honest way, rather than trying to hide it:

People have become more open about their feelings.


She’s very easy to talk to because she’s so open.

▪ frank speaking honestly and directly about something, especially something that people find difficult to discuss:

In his book, he’s brutally frank about his experience with his illness.


a frank discussion about sex

▪ direct saying exactly what you think in an honest clear way, even when this might annoy or upset people:

Not everyone liked his direct manner.


She can be very direct.

▪ blunt speaking in a completely honest way, even if it upsets people, when it would be better to be more careful or polite:

Sorry if I was a bit blunt with you.


His hard tone and blunt words were hurtful.


She didn’t reply and I knew I had been too blunt.

▪ upfront [not before noun] informal talking and behaving in an honest way, even when it is difficult to do this, in a way that people respect:

It’s best to be upfront about your financial problems.


You have to be upfront with kids.

▪ outspoken expressing your opinions publicly in a very direct way, which may offend or annoy some people:

an outspoken critic of the government


He was known for his outspoken views on various controversies.

▪ forthright formal saying exactly what what you think, without being afraid of what other people will think:

The opposition have not come up with a clear forthright statement of their policies.


At times, Helena was a little too forthright.

▪ candid formal honest about the facts, or about your opinions and feelings, even if other people disapprove of them:

He’d always been completely candid about his past.


It was an unusually candid admission for a politician.

II. open 2 S1 W1 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : the open, ↑ opener , ↑ opening , ↑ openness ; adjective : ↑ open , ↑ opening , ↑ unopened ; verb : ↑ open ; adverb : ↑ openly ]

1 . DOOR/WINDOW ETC [intransitive and transitive] to move a door, window etc so that people, things, air etc can pass through, or to be moved in this way:

Jack opened the window.

He opened the drawer of the desk.

She heard a door open and then close.

2 . CONTAINER/PACKAGE [transitive] to unfasten or remove the lid, top, or cover of a container, package etc:

Louise opened a bottle of wine.

He opened the letter and began to read it.

The children were opening their presents.

Mark was about to open a beer when the doorbell rang.

3 . EYES [intransitive and transitive] to raise your ↑ eyelid s so that you can see, or to be raised in this way:

Barry was awake long before he opened his eyes.

Carrie smelled coffee and her eyes opened reluctantly.

4 . MOUTH [intransitive and transitive] to move your lips apart, or to be moved in this way:

He opened his mouth but couldn’t think what to say.

5 . START OPERATING [intransitive and transitive] ( also open up ) if a place such as an office, shop, restaurant etc opens or is opened, it starts operating or providing a service:

Sarah had recently opened an office in Genoa.

French and Scandinavian offices are due to open in the autumn.

The Forestry Commission has opened a plant centre selling rare plants.

The centre has been a great success since it opened its doors a year ago.

6 . SHOP/RESTAURANT ETC [intransitive] ( also open up ) to start business, letting in customers or visitors, at a particular time:

What time do the banks open?

The bakery opens early.

7 . START AN ACTIVITY [transitive] to start an activity, event, or set of actions:

The US attorney’s office has opened an investigation into the matter.

An inquest into the deaths will be opened next week.

8 . COMPUTER [transitive] to make a document or computer program ready to use:

Click on this icon to open the File Manager.

9 . MEETING/EVENT [intransitive and transitive] if a meeting etc opens or is opened in a particular way, it starts in that way:

Hughes, opening the Conference, made a dramatic plea for peace.

open with

The concert opens with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture.

10 . OFFICIAL CEREMONY [transitive] to perform a ceremony in which you officially state that a building is ready to be used:

The new County Hall building was officially opened by the King.

11 . SPREAD/UNFOLD [intransitive and transitive] to spread something out or unfold something, or to become spread out or unfolded:

She opened her umbrella.

John opened his hand to show her he wasn’t holding anything.

The flowers only open during bright weather.

I sat down and opened my book.

She opened the curtains (=pulled the two curtains apart) .

Dave opened his arms (=stretched his arms wide apart) to give her a hug.

12 . MAKE A WAY THROUGH [transitive] to make it possible for cars, goods etc to pass through a place:

They were clearing away snow to open the tunnel.

The peace treaty promises an end to war and opens the borders between the two countries.

13 . FILM/PLAY ETC [intransitive] to start being shown to the public:

Paula and Rachael star as mother and daughter in the play, which opens tonight.

The film opened yesterday to excellent reviews.

14 . open an account to start an account at a bank or other financial organization by putting money into it:

Mary was in the bank to ask about opening a current account.

15 . open fire (on something) to start shooting at someone or something:

Troops opened fire on the rioters.

16 . open the door/way to something ( also open doors ) to make an opportunity for something to happen:

Research on genes should open the door to exciting new medical treatments.

If the record is successful, it could open doors for my career.

17 . open sb’s eyes (to something) to make someone realize something that they had not realized before:

The purpose of the training is to open managers’ eyes to the consequences of their own behaviour.

18 . open your mind (to something) to be ready to consider or accept new ideas

19 . open your heart (to somebody) to tell someone your real thoughts and feelings because you trust them

20 . the heavens opened literary it started to rain heavily

⇨ open the floodgates at ↑ floodgate

• • •


▪ open used about a door, window, container, package, letter, your eyes, or your mouth:

I opened the door quietly.


She was nervous about opening the letter.


Open your mouth wide.

▪ unlock to open a door, drawer, box etc with a key:

You need a key to unlock the safe.

▪ unscrew to open a lid on a bottle, container etc by turning it:

I carefully unscrewed the lid of the jar.

▪ force open to open a drawer, window, cupboard etc using force:

The door was locked so we had to force it open.

▪ unwrap to open a package by removing the paper that covers it:

The children were busy unwrapping their Christmas presents.

▪ unfasten/undo to make something no longer fastened or tied, for example a seat belt or a piece of clothing:

He unfastened the top button of his shirt.


I was so full I had to undo my belt.

open onto/into something phrasal verb

if a room, door etc opens onto or into another place, you can enter that other place directly through it:

The door opens onto a long balcony.

open out phrasal verb

1 . if a road, path, or passage opens out, it becomes wider

open out into

Beyond the forest the path opened out into a track.

2 . British English if someone opens out, they become less shy

open up phrasal verb

1 . OPPORTUNITY if opportunities open up, or a new situation opens them up, they become available or possible:

With a microscope, a whole new world of investigation opens up.

open something ↔ up

The new international agreement opens up the possibility of much greater co-operation against terrorism.

2 . LAND open something ↔ up if someone opens up an area of land, they make it easier to reach and ready for development:

The new road will open up 300 acres of prime development land.

3 . DOOR/CONTAINER ETC to open something that is closed, locked, or covered:

Open up, this is the police!

open something ↔ up

He opened up his case and took out a clean sweater.


a) if a shop, office etc opens up or is opened up, someone starts it

b) if a shop, office etc opens up at a particular time, it starts business at that time

5 . DISAGREEMENT/DISCUSSION open something ↔ up to start a discussion or argument:

The article was written with the intention of opening up a public debate.

6 . COMPETITION/RACE if someone opens up a lead in a competition or race, they increase the distance or number of points by which they are winning

7 . TALK to stop being shy and say what you really think:

Last night was the first time that Ken had opened up about his feelings.

8 . WITH A GUN to start shooting

9 . HOLE/CRACK ETC if a hole, crack etc opens up or is opened up, it appears and becomes wider

III. open 3 BrE AmE noun

1 . in the open outdoors:

In the summer, we camped in the open.

2 . (out) in the open information that is out in the open is not hidden or secret:

By now the whole affair was in the open.

She never let her dislike for him come out into the open.

All these concerns need to be brought out into the open.

• • •


■ Actions when using a computer

▪ start up/boot up to make a computer start working:

I’m having problems starting up my computer.

▪ log on/in to start using a computer system by typing your name and password:

He logged on and read his emails.

▪ click on something to press a button on a computer mouse to choose a program, file etc from the screen:

When you click on the link, it sends you to the company’s website.

▪ install to add new software to a computer so that the software is ready to be used:

All users should install anti-virus software.

▪ download to move information, pictures, or music from the Internet onto your computer:

You can download MP3 files.

▪ upload to move information, pictures, or music from your computer to a different computer across the Internet:

Sites such as YouTube allow you to upload your own videos.

▪ open to make a file or program ready to use:

Open a new file and type in the information.

▪ scroll up/down to move information on a computer screen up or down so that you can read it:

Scroll down to read the questions and answers.

▪ enter to type information into a computer:

The program requires you to enter a password.

▪ delete to remove information from a computer:

I’ve deleted his email.


When you delete a file, it first gets moved to the recycle bin.

▪ cut and paste to remove information from one place and put it in another place:

Tutors are looking out for students who cut and paste their essays from the Internet.

▪ save to make a computer keep the work that you have done on it:

Make sure you save any work you do before you shut the computer down.

▪ close to stop having a file or program ready to use:

To close the window, click on the ‘X’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

▪ log off/out to stop using a computer system by giving it particular instructions:

I get an error message when I log off.

▪ shut down to make a computer stop working:

Employees should shut their computers down at the end of each day.

▪ restart/reboot to make a computer start working again:

Wait a few minutes before rebooting your computer.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.