Crack the door

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Sun Aug 23 14:13:20 UTC 2009

"Close the door a crack" gets exactly 1 Google hit. "Open the door a crack"
gets 7,560. If wife told me to crack the door and I found it wide open, I
would, I think, be momentarily flummoxed. Then I might think, "Oh, she must
have thought it was closed." If I knew that she knew it was open, I might
think, "I'll have to ask her about that usage. Let's see, where is she from

We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Joel S. Berson
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: Crack the door

At 8/23/2009 12:49 AM, nwhitman at wrote:
>At night, my wife will ask me to "crack the door" before we watch
>TV, so it won't keep the kids awake. I think, "what, *open* the
>door!? That doesn't make sense!" Then I notice the door's already
>wide open, and I realize she doesn't mean take it from closed to
>slightly open, but from wide open to slightly open.
>I can't get that meaning any more than I can say I've cracked a
>plate when I've glued together the pieces of a broken plate. Can any
>of you? For doors and windows, or just one or the other?

Normally I would understand "crack the door/window" to mean "open it
just a bit", but if I looked at or went to the door/window and found
it widely open I would understand to close it to the desired position.


The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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