Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
close (one) out of (something)
To exclude one from something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." I'm in this relationship too, so stop closing me out of decisions. Unfortunately, the teacher closed us out of the class because we got to the lecture hall late.
close (one's) eyes
1. To willfully ignore, pretend not to notice, or choose not to deal with something. You can't just close your eyes to your child's bad choices and bad behavior—you have to find ways to help them do better. Our boss would rather close his eyes than figure out how to keep the company from going bankrupt.
2. To sleep, usually briefly. Just let me close my eyes for a few minutes—I'm exhausted. Mom went upstairs to close her eyes, but I can probably help you. What do you need?
close a/the deal
To reach an agreement with another party, thus concluding negotiations. We need to move in a month, so how quickly can you close a deal and get our house sold? After months of negotiating, I hired a high-powered attorney to finally close the deal.
close a/the sale
To reach an agreement with a buyer; to finalize a sale by persuading the interested party to complete the purchase. We need to move in a month, so how quickly can you close a sale? Obviously, we're looking for salespeople who can consistently close the sale.
1. To cease business operations for any length of time (often permanently). I loved that restaurant, so I'm very disappointed that it closed down. That shop always closes down for two weeks in the summer to accommodate the owner's vacation.
2. To force a business to cease operations. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is often used between "close" and "down." After a thorough investigation, the police were finally able to close the shop down for money laundering.
1. To physically surround, encircle, or approach someone or something. As the opposing troops closed in on us, I knew we would never win the battle.
2. To trap or confine someone or something in a particular space. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "in." The blizzard has closed us in, unfortunately, and we won't even be able to go skiing.
3. To approach very quickly or become imminent, as of a deadline. I procrastinated, and now the deadline for my paper is really closing in!
4. To overwhelm or engulf someone, as of emotions. For a long time, I couldn't drive because feelings of fear closed in every time I got behind the wheel.
close in for the kill
1. Literally, to approach someone or something with the intent of killing it. The lion closed in for the kill when it saw the injured antelope.
2. By extension, to approach someone or something with the intent to achieve a particular outcome. If someone finally shows interest in buying the house, I'm sure our realtor will close in for the kill.
close in on (someone or something)
1. To physically surround, encircle, or approach someone or something. As the opposing troops closed in on us, I knew we would never win the battle. When I'm in a small space for too long, I start to feel as though the walls are closing in on me.
2. To overwhelm or engulf someone, as of emotions. For a long time, I couldn't drive because feelings of fear closed in on me every time I got behind the wheel.
3. To approach very quickly or become imminent, as of a deadline or other requirement. I procrastinated, and now the deadline for my paper is really closing in on me! The threat of war seems to be closing in on the turbulent region.
close its doors
Of a business, to cease operations, either permanently or for some length of time; to close down. If the factory closes its doors, hundreds of people will be out of work. Many shops in the seaside town close their doors during the winter.
1. To prevent access to a particular area or thing. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "off." We had to close off that section of the restaurant for a private party. I had to take a detour on my way home because the water department closed a bunch of streets off.
2. To avoid emotional connection with others; to isolate. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun can be used between "close" and "off." Todd really closed himself off after his last break-up. I have a hard time making friends because I usually close myself off from other people.
3. To refuse to listen to viewpoints, ideas, or opinions that differ from one's own. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun can be used between "close" and "off." Grandpa, you can't just close yourself off to the ways of the modern world. Can you please listen to what I think, instead of automatically closing yourself off?
To complete the process of buying or selling property, most often a house. In this usage, "close on" is a set phrase followed by a noun or pronoun. So when do you guys finally close on the new house?
1. verb To prevent from entering a certain place or area. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." Keep that door shut—I'm trying to close out the bugs.
2. verb To sell the remaining inventory of an item that will not be restocked. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." We need close out this model of TV, so we're offering a deep discount.
3. verb To end the registration period for something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." I'm sorry, so many people signed up for the workshop that we had to close it out.
4. verb To exclude one from something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." I'm in this relationship too, so stop closing me out of decisions. Unfortunately, we got to the studio late and were closed out of the class.
5. verb To bring about the end of something; to conclude something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." If the home team wins tonight, they can close out this playoff series and move on to the next round.
6. verb To discontinue something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "close" and "out." What steps do I have to take to close out my account with your bank?
7. adjective A sale of the remaining inventory of an item that will not be restocked, usually at a significant discount. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated or written as one word. I bought so many things because the store was having a big close-out sale.
1. Literally, to move closer to the other troops while in a military formation. As soon as the captain called for us to close ranks, we all moved closer together.
2. By extension, to show support for someone or something, especially as a response to criticism. This phrase is typically applied to a group of people. Our family was sure to close ranks behind mom as she suffered public backlash during her campaign for mayor.
close the books
1. To end a particular financial or accounting period. The business has already closed the books for this quarter.
2. To decide that a particular situation has ended; to conclude something; to stop considering something as an option. Mindy was our top candidate for the job, but we had to close the books on her when we learned that she had lied on her resume. I think it's time for me to close the books on this situation because I'm clearly never getting my money back.
close the door on (one)
To exclude one from something in a total or peremptory manner. A lot of banks closed the doors on me when I applied for a loan because of my criminal record. The government's new regulations close the door on thousands of citizens seeking financial aid.
close the door on (something)
1. Literally, to shut a door while something is in the way, usually accidentally. Whoa, hang on, my dress is caught on something. I think I closed the door on it. I accidentally closed the door on my finger. I think it might be broken!
2. To hinder something; to make something impossible. If they find out that you lied on your résumé, it will definitely close the door on this job opportunity for you. The new president has already indicated that she will be closing the door on any further efforts to unite the two countries.
3. To conclude something. While graduation closes the door on the high school experience for most seniors, there are always an unlucky few who have to stay behind an extra year. I'm just glad to close the door on this whole unfortunate affair.
close the door to (one)
To make something impossible for or inaccessible to one. The committee has officially closed the door to us because of our involvement in the scandal. The government's new regulations close the door to thousands of citizens seeking financial aid.
close the door to (something)
To hinder something; to make something impossible or inaccessible. If they find out that you lied on your resume, it will definitely close the door to this job opportunity.
close the face
To bring the flat side ("face") of a club, such as a golf club or cricket bat, closer to one's body before striking the ball. If you close the face, you'll get a better angle on your drive.
close the stable door after the horse has bolted
To try to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. It isn't worth replacing the oil filter on the engine now—you can't close the stable door after the horse has bolted.
1. verb Literally, to shut something that is open. Be sure to close up the oven after you take out the cookies.
2. verb To sew an opening shut at the end of a surgical procedure. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "close" and "up." The procedure is finished. Now we need to close him up.
3. verb To heal, as of a cut or wound. The cut isn't too deep, so it should close up on its own, no stitches needed.
4. verb To become completely closed or sealed shut. After I got hit in the face with a baseball, my eye swelled so much that it actually closed up.
5. verb To cease business operations for any length of time (often permanently). I loved that restaurant, so I'm very disappointed that it closed up permanently. That shop always closes up for two weeks in the summer to accommodate the owner's vacation.
6. verb To close something, typically a place, securely. I hope you closed up the store before you left for the night.
7. noun A shot in which the camera is positioned very close to the subject. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. I want the next scene to start with a close-up of Caroline standing in the doorway. Her close-ups of flowers are just gorgeous—she's a very underrated photographer.
8. noun A detailed or intimate portrayal or exploration of something. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. This novel is a close-up of Depression-era America.
close up shop
To cease business operations for any length of time (often permanently). This phrase can be used to describe an enterprise or an employee. I loved that restaurant, so I'm very disappointed that it closed up shop. The owner always closes up shop for two weeks in the summer to accommodate her vacation. You need to close up shop and go home—your shift ended an hour ago.
closing the stable door after the horse has bolted
Trying to prevent or rectify a problem after the damage has already been done. If you try to replace the oil filter on the engine now, you're just closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
The time at which an establishment closes for the day. Aw man, it's closing time already? I barely got any of my shopping done! I think we can squeeze in one more beer before it's closing time!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
close downand shut down
[for someone] to close a business, office, shop, etc., permanently or temporarily. This shop will have to close down if they raise taxes. The fire department closed down all the stores on the block because of the gas leak.
close in for the killand move in for the kill
1. Lit. to move in on someone or something for the purpose of killing. The wolves closed in for the kill. When the lions closed in for the kill, the zebras began to stampede.
2. Fig. to get ready to do the final and climactic part of something. The car salesman closed in for the kill with contract and pen in hand.
close in(on someone or something)
1. Lit. to move inward on someone or something. The cops were closing in on the thugs. They closed in quietly and trapped the bear.
2. Fig. [for threats or negative feelings] to overwhelm or seem to surround someone or something. My problems are closing in on me. I feel trapped. Everything is closing in.
close on something
to formally complete the sale and transfer of property, especially real estate. We closed on the new house on April 16. We were able to close on our old house on June 2.
to move closer together in a military formation. The soldiers closed ranks and marched on the enemy in tight formation.
(behind someone or something) to support someone or something; to back someone or something. We will close ranks behind the party's nominee. Let's close ranks behind her and give her the support she needs.
close ranks (with someone)
to join with someone in a cause, or agreement. We can fight this menace only if we close ranks. Let's all close ranks with Ann and adopt her suggestions.
close someone or something down
to force someone or someone's business, office, shop, etc., to close permanently or temporarily. The health department closed the restaurant down. They closed down the same place last year, too.
close someone or something in (something)
to contain someone or something in something or some place; to seal someone or something inside something. Don't close the bird in such a small cage. Don't close me in! Leave the door open.
close someone up
to close a surgical wound at the end of a surgical procedure. Fred, would you close her up for me? Fred closed up the patient.
close something off
to prevent entrance into something; to block something off. Please don't close this passageway off. They closed off the passageway anyway.
close something out
1. to sell off a particular kind of merchandise with the intention of not selling it in the future. These are not selling. Let's close them out. They closed out all of last season's merchandise.
2. to prevent further registration in something. We are going to have to close this class out. The registrar closed out the class.
close something up
1. to close someone's business, office, shop, etc., temporarily or permanently. Tom's restaurant nearly went out of business when the health department closed him up. The health department closed up the restaurant.
2. to close something that is open, such as a door or a box. Please close the door when you leave.
1. Lit. [for an opening] to close completely. The door closed up and would not open again. The wound will close up completely in a day or so.
2. Fig. [for a place of business] to close for business. The store closed up and did not open until the next day.
close up shop
Fig. to quit working, for the day or forever. (Fixed order.) It's five o'clock. Time to close up shop. I can't make any money in this town. The time has come to close up shop and move to another town.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Also, close one's doors; shut down. Go out of business, end operations. For example, If the rent goes up we'll have to close down, or After fifty years in business the store finally closed its doors, or The warehouse had a clearance sale the month before it shut down for good. Also see close up, def. 2.
2. Force someone to go out of business, as in The police raided the porn shop and closed it down. Both usages date from the early 1900s, but shut down was first recorded in 1877.
1. Surround, enclose, envelop, as in The fog closed in and we couldn't see two yards in front of us, or She felt the room was closing in. [c. 1400]
2. Also, close in on or upon . Draw in, approach, as in The police closed in on the suspect. [Early 1800s]
1. Also, close something out. Dispose of a stock of goods; end a business. For example, We are closing out all our china, or They've decided to close out their downtown branch. This expression is most often used in business and commerce but occasionally refers to other matters. [Late 1800s]
2. close someone out. Prevent someone's entry or inclusion, as in No one will tell us about the merger-we've been closed out. [Second half of 1900s]
Unite, work together, as in The members decided to close ranks and confront the president. This expression, dating from the late 1700s, comes from the military, where it denotes bringing troops into close order so there are no gaps in the fighting line. (A slightly earlier form was close lines.) It has been used figuratively since the mid-1800s.
close the books
Stop financial transactions; end a matter. For example, The entire estate went at the auction, so we can close the books on it, or He was glad to close the books on this case.
close the sale
Also, close the deal; close on a sale or deal . Complete a transaction, as in Jack was delighted to close the sale. This term applies to such transactions as the sale of a house, also put as closing on a house, as well as negotiations leading up to a sale. The latter was also put as to close a bargain, a phrase used by Charles Dickens and other 19th-century writers: "He closed the bargain directly it reached his ears," Nicholas Nickleby, 1838.
Also, close up shop. Stop doing business, temporarily or permanently; also, stop working. For example, The bank is closing up all its overseas branches, or That's enough work for one day-I'm closing up shop and going home. [Late 1500s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
close the stable door after the horse has boltedBRITISH or
close the barn door after the horse has boltedAMERICAN
If someone's action is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, it is too late because the thing it is designed to prevent has already happened. It is nice to see the water company offering a reward to catch the fish killers, even though it might look like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. People have been complaining about a strong smell of gas for seven years. This is closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Note: This expression is often varied. For instance, you can use shut instead of close, and words such as gone or escaped instead of bolted. The children should have been vaccinated earlier. It seems like they are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Note: People sometimes just say close the stable door or close the barn door. Journalists exposed the fraud, since when the regulators have been scuttling to close the stable door.
COMMON If the members of a group close ranks, they say things to show that they support each other totally when someone who is not in their group criticizes one of their members. Note: A rank of soldiers is a line of them standing side by side. They would more likely close ranks and support their president rather than abandon him in an election year. Cabinet ministers have closed ranks behind the Prime Minister, saying there was no question of his stepping down. Note: When soldiers close ranks, they stand closer together so that it is hard for anyone to break through the line.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
close the booksmake no further entries at the end of an accounting period; cease trading.
close its doors(of a business) close down or fail. euphemistic
close ranks1 (of soldiers or police officers) come closer together in a line. 2 unite in order to defend common interests.
2 1998 Country Life The farming community stands to lose those privileges unless it closes ranks against the few who let the side down.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
close ˈranks(of the members of a profession, group, etc.) co-operate closely to protect and defend each other: Although the family quarrelled a good deal among themselves, they quickly closed ranks against any outsider who criticized one of them.
close toalmost; nearly: It’s close on midnight. ♢ They made a profit close to €20 000.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
1. To stop operating permanently or for an extended period of time. Used especially of businesses: After decades of serving the community, the gymnasium closed down.
2. To force someone or something, as a business, to stop operating: The cops closed down our poker game. I'd like to keep the shop running, but the recession will probably close my business down.
1. To surround and advance on a person or thing: The police located the escaped prisoner and closed in. Scientists closed in on the cause of the disease.
2. To appear to be coming in from all sides: Problems of every sort are closing in on me.
3. To be about to occur; be imminent: We had better hurry, the deadline is closing in.
To prevent passage along or through something: The police closed off the main avenue for a parade. Park rangers closed the lake off to motorboats.
1. To block someone or something from entering some place: I shut the windows to close out the light. The management closed the striking union out from the factory.
2. To refuse to include someone in a group or activity: The tour guide had to close out many people who wanted to come on the trip because the bus was full. The school closed me out of the class because I registered too late.
3. To discontinue the sale of some merchandise: The store is closing out its old line of hiking boots, so they're on sale. This is a good brand of refrigerator, so buy one before the store closes them out.
4. To terminate something, as a business or an account, by disposing of all its assets: She opened a new bank account and closed out the old one. He closed his savings account out and bought a new car.
5. To bring some activity to an end: This performance will close out our program for the evening. Just when we thought the tennis match might go to a third set, one of the players closed it out with two aces.
1. To shut something completely: The doctor closed up the cut with stitches. I closed the box up with wire and tape.
2. To become shut completely: My eye closed up because of the infection.
3. To shut and lock a building for a period of time: It's my job to close up the store for the night because I'm always the last one to leave. At the end of August, we'll close the cottage up for the winter.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Unite against a common opponent, present a united front. The term originated in the 1600s in the military, where it also was put as “to close files.” It alluded to the style of battle in which the troops were aligned side by side in neat rows; the order to “close ranks” meant to move the rows closer together, creating a seemingly impenetrable mass of men. The term was soon being used figuratively and became a cliché. For example, “Will the wankel [engine] be enough to sustain NSU as an independent motor company, or will NSU one day have to close ranks further with Citroen?” (Economist, Sept. 2, 1967).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer