Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
open (one's) mind (to something)
To become or cause one to become receptive to or prepared to consider something, such as a topic, idea, opinion, perspective, etc. Being in college really helped open my mind to the myriad of beliefs and ideals to which different people around the world adhere. I know you're hesitant about seeing a psychic about this, but try opening your mind a bit—you might be pleasantly surprised!
open (oneself) (up) to criticism
1. To do something that leaves oneself vulnerable to criticism from others. Don't ever openly or directly admit that you've done something wrong while you're in a leadership position, or you'll just open yourself to criticism from all sides. The prime minister has really been opening herself up to criticism with the way she's been backpedaling on her positions recently.
2. To allow others to give one criticism. You'll never improve as a writer if you don't open yourself up to criticism more.
open (up) a can of worms
To initiate, instigate, or reveal a situation that is or is likely to become very complicated or problematic or that will have a negative outcome. I worry that trying to tweak the existing system could open up a can of worms that we're not anticipating. The candidate opened a can of worms when he made those inflammatory comments. Now the entire election has been dominated by the topic.
open a conversation (with one)
To begin a speaking with one; to strike up a conversation with one. I just find it so hard to open a conversation with someone I don't know. They kept getting interrupted every time they tried opening a conversation.
open a few doors
To create an opportunity for employment or advancement in one's career. Not all of us have a rich father who can open a few doors at companies around the world—some of us had to work to get where we are. I'm hoping that finally finishing my bachelor's degree will open a few doors for me in my career.
1. verb Literally, to fire or begin firing a gun (at someone). The troops opened fire as soon as they saw the militants exit the building.
2. verb By extension, to begin attacking, criticizing, or interrogating someone. The reporters opened fire on the commissioner with a barrage of intense questions.
3. noun A fire not contained by a fireplace or stove. There's nothing quite like roasting marshmallows over an open fire.
open for business
1. Currently operational and accepting business from clients. We had a few setbacks with city regulators, but our new store is finally open for business!
2. To create and launch a business to do business with others. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "open" and "for." My great-grandfather opened our first store for business 100 years ago today.
open into (something)
1. To lead into some larger place or thing. The narrow ravine opens into a huge, lush valley. The patio opens into a large courtyard shared by the various residents of the building.
2. To lead into some larger or different topic or subject of conversation. The debate about tax reform opened into a discussion about what else could be done to curb the national deficit.
See also: open
open on (something)
To begin with some specific thing. The panel discussion opened on a debate about the proposed tax reform legislation. The film opens on a shot of the hero looking out over the valley at dusk.
1. To expand, widen, or spread out. The small path in the underbrush finally began to open out so that we could walk comfortably next to each other. The box the game came in opens out into a full-sized poster.
2. To expand, widen, or spread out something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "open" and "out." She opened out the map to show me where the cabin was located. Would you open the stroller out for me? It feels stuck.
open out on(to) something
To expand and lead to some larger area. The winding mountain road opened out on an overlook that provided a stunning view of the city below. Our back yard opens out onto an enormous forest.
open some doors
To create an opportunity for employment or advancement in one's career. Not all of us have a rich father who can open some doors at companies around the world—some of us had to work to get where we are. I'm hoping that finally finishing my bachelor's degree will open some doors for me in my career.
open the door for (someone or something)
1. Literally, to open a door for another person. Open the door for me, will you? I have my hands full right now. Now that I'm on crutches, I really appreciate it when people open the door for me.
2. To create an opportunity for someone or something. Female professors like you really opened the door for future generations of women scholars. Recent advancements in technology really opened the door for my latest invention to gain widespread acceptance.
open the eyes of (someone)
To cause someone to see, realize, or understand the truth about something. The local painter has been trying to use his art to open the eyes of his fellow citizens to the injustices suffered by the homeless in the town.
open the way for (one)
To allow or make it possible for one to do something. This change in legislation will open the way for us to streamline our import services.
One's initial or opening stratagem, maneuver, or tactic meant to give one an advantage. It was a risky opening gambit for the team to throw a Hail Mary on the first play of the game, but it took their opponents by surprise and resulted in a touchdown. The candidate's opening gambit in the debate was to bring up his opponent's marital infidelities, which had come to light in recent weeks.
the opening of an envelope
Any event, celebration, or ceremony, no matter how trivial or unremarkable, that one attends purely for the sake of visibility. Often said in relation to celebrities or media personalities who make a point of attending anything that will give them more public exposure. In a bid to cultivate a media buzz around herself, the Internet sensation has been to the openings of films, book launches, and celebrity galas. With the way she carries on, she'd even go to the opening of an envelope!
open a few doors
(for someone) Go to open some doors (for someone).
(on someone) Fig. to start (doing something, such as asking questions or criticizing). (Based on open fire on someone or something.) The reporters opened fire on the mayor. When the reporters opened fire, the mayor was smiling, but not for long.
open fire (on someone or something)
to begin shooting at someone or something. The troops opened fire on the enemy. The trainees opened fire on the target.
open for business
[of a shop, store, restaurant, etc.] operating and ready to do business. The store is now open for business and invites you to come in. The construction will be finished in March, and we will be open for business in April.
open some doors (for someone)and open a few doors (for someone)
Fig. to gain access to opportunity or influence (for someone). Morris was able to open a few doors for Mary and get her an interview with thepres-ident.
open something out
to unfold or expand something; to open and spread something out. When she opened the fan out, she saw it was made of plastic. The peacock opened out its tail feathers and delighted the children.
Fig. an opening movement, tactic, or statement which is made to secure a position that is to one's advantage. The rebel army's opening gambit was to bomb the city's business district. The prosecution's opening gambit was to call a witness who linked the defendant to the scene of the crime.
Begin a verbal attack, as in In her second letter to the editor she opened fire, saying the reporter had deliberately misquoted her . This idiom alludes to discharging a firearm. [Mid-1800s]
open ˈfire (on somebody/something)start shooting (at somebody/something): The officer gave the order to open fire on the enemy. OPPOSITE: hold your fire
1. To become wider: The river opens out as it heads toward the bay.
2. To unfold or expand so that inner parts are displayed; spread out: The couch opened out into a bed.
3. To unfold or expand something; spread something out: I opened the couch out into a bed. Let's open out the model to see how it works.
4. open out on To be a passage or opening to some larger external space: After we remodel, the living room will open out on to the kitchen.
To begin firing a gun or guns.
can of worms, it's a/like opening a
Introducing a complicated problem or unsolvable dilemma. The metaphor alludes to the live bait of fishermen. In a jar or other container, they form an inextricable tangle, wriggling and entwining themselves with one another. The term is American in origin, dating from the mid-twentieth century.
The first move in a contest, game, or competition of some kind. The term comes from chess and is actually redundant, since in that game gambit signifies a way of opening the game that involves sacrificing a pawn or other piece in order to gain some advantage over one’s opponent. It was being used figuratively by the mid-1800s, and for some reason opening was added in later decades.