American English

Definition of open verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they open
    he / she / it opens
    past simple opened
    -ing form opening
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  1. 1[transitive] open something to move a door, window, lid, etc. so that it is no longer closed Mr. Chen opened the car door for his wife. opposite close1
  2. 2[intransitive] to move or be moved so that it is no longer closed The door opened and Alan walked in. The doors of the bus open automatically. opposite close1
  3. container/package
  4. 3[transitive] open something to remove the lid, undo the fastener, etc. of a container, etc. in order to see or get what is inside Should I open another bottle? He opened the letter and read it. She opened her bag and took out her passport.
  5. eyes
  6. 4[transitive, intransitive] open (something) if you open your eyes or your eyes open, you move your eyelids upward so that you can see opposite close1
  7. mouth
  8. 5[transitive, intransitive] open (something) if you open your mouth or your mouth opens, you move your lips, for example in order to speak He hardly ever opens his mouth (= speaks).
  9. book
  10. 6[transitive] open something to turn the cover or the pages of a book so that it is no longer closed Open your books to page 25. opposite close1
  11. spread out
  12. 7[intransitive, transitive] to spread out or unfold; to spread something out or unfold it What if the parachute doesn't open? The flowers are starting to open. open something Open the map on the table. He opened his arms wide to embrace her.
  13. border/road
  14. 8[transitive] open something to make it possible for people, cars, goods, etc. to pass through a place When did the country open its borders? The road will be opened again in a few hours after police clear it. opposite close1
  15. for customers/visitors
  16. 9[intransitive, transitive] (of a shop/store, business, etc.) to start business for the day; to start business for the first time What time does the bank open? open something The company opened its doors for business a month ago. opposite close1
  17. 10[intransitive] to be ready for people to go to The new hospital opens on July 1st. When does the play open? opposite close1
  18. start something
  19. 11[transitive] to start an activity or event open something You need just one dollar to open a bank account with us. Who is going to open the conference? The police have opened an investigation into the death. Troops opened fire on (= started shooting at) the crowds. open something with something They will open the new season with a performance of “Carmen.” Thesaurusstartbegin start off kick off commence openThese words are all used to talk about things happening from the beginning, or people doing the first part of something.start to begin to happen or exist; to begin in a particular way or from a particular point:When does the class start?begin to start to happen or exist; to start in a particular way or from a particular point; to start speaking:When does the concert begin?start or begin?There is not much difference in meaning between these words. Start is more frequent in spoken English and in business contexts;begin is more frequent in written English and is often used when you are describing a series of events:The story begins on the island of Corfu.Start is not used to mean “begin speaking”:“Ladies and gentlemen,” he started.start off (somewhat informal) to start happening or to start doing something; to start by doing or being something:The discussion started off mildly enough.kick off (informal) to start an event or activity, especially in a particular way; (of an event, activity, etc.) to start, especially in a particular way:Tom will kick off with a few comments. The festival kicks off on Monday with a free concert.commence (formal) to start happening:The negotiations are scheduled to commence at to start an event or activity in a particular way; (of an event, movie, or book) to start, especially in a particular way:The story opens with a murder.Patterns to start/begin/start off/kick off/commence/open with something to start/begin/start off/kick off/commence/open by doing something to start/begin/start off as something a campaign/season/meeting starts/begins/starts off/kicks off/commences/opens a play/show/movie/book starts/begins/starts off/opens
  20. 12[intransitive] open (with something) (of a story, movie, etc.) to start in a particular way The story opens with a murder. How does the play open?
  21. with ceremony
  22. 13[transitive] open something to perform a ceremony showing that a building can start being used The bridge was opened by the governor.
  23. computing
  24. 14[transitive, intransitive] open (something) to start a computer program or file so that you can use it on the screen
  25. Idioms
    the heavens opened
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    it began to rain heavily
    open doors for somebody
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    to provide opportunities for someone to do something and be successful
    open your/somebody's eyes (to something)
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    to realize or make someone realize the truth about something Traveling really opens your eyes to other cultures.
    open your/somebody's mind to something
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    to become or make someone aware of new ideas or experiences He's eager to open the minds of his audience to different kinds of music.
    open the way for somebody/something (to do something)
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    to make it possible for someone to do something or for something to happen The agreement could open the way for the country to pay off its debts.
    pour out/open your heart to somebody
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    to tell someone all your problems, feelings, etc.
    Phrasal Verbsopen into/onto somethingopen outopen upopen somethingupopen somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: open