‘Leave the Door Open’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on October 3, 2022

You might have heard ‘leave the door open’ in a conversation at work, among friends, or even on the internet and were left wondering what it means. If so, you’ve come to the right place!

To leave the door open for something means staying open-minded to the possibility that a particular thing might happen.

Read on for some examples of this idiom being used in a sentence.

How to Use ‘Leave the Door Open’ in a Sentence

If you’re curious about how to use the idiom in a sentence or want a better understanding of its meaning, check out the following examples:

We’ve just broken up, so we both need space right now, but we left the door open for a friendship in the future.

I’ve decided to stay in my current job for now, but I’m leaving the door open for something better to come along.

They’re leaving the door open for collaboration next year.

I’m not sure that’s a good idea; it seems to leave the door open for more trouble.

We should include a new clause in our contracts; we don’t want to leave the door open for any lawsuits.

Other Idioms With ‘Door’

‘Leave the door open’ isn’t the only idiom that uses the word ‘leave’ or ‘door.’ There are many others! Here are just a few:

‘Open the door to’ - expand your options.

‘Leave something at the door’ - don’t bring your worries or concerns inside.

‘Leave the past behind’ - don’t dwell on the past.

‘A foot in the door’ - to become a part of something.

‘Leave someone out in the cold’ - to exclude someone.

What is an Idiom?

Idioms are a group of words that have an entirely different meaning from what the words imply. In short, you can’t trust the words you’re reading in an idiom, as they have nothing to do with the intended message. Or at least, they don’t seem to.

Consider the idiom 'canary in a coal mine'. It doesn't actually mean there is a canary in a coal mine. It's used to talk about something that is a warning sign.

The reality is, though, that often when we dig a little deeper, these idioms came from somewhere and probably made a lot of sense once upon a time. But they perhaps don’t evolve as quickly as vocabulary does!

With the 'canary in a coal mine' example, you'll find miners used to take canaries down to the mines with them because they would warn them if the oxygen levels were about to become toxic. As you can see, that idiom does make sense after all!

Concluding Thoughts on 'Open the Door'

Well, that’s all for now, folks. I hope you understand the meaning of this idiom a little better and feel empowered to use it in your daily speech.

Idioms are a fun and creative way to express yourself, and they add some color to your conversations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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