Crack the door

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 23 16:09:27 UTC 2009

I'm with you, Joel. Unfortunately, my Pennsylvania-born wife is
totally unaware of this locution. And, by pure chance, I've never had
occasion to say it to her.

Another strange coincidence; now that we're back on her home
territory, anymore my wife tries to avoid using either Positive
Anymore or "heyna." Heyna? Instead, she goes with faux-Black English
and faux-Yiddish (she's of Ukrainian-Catholic heritage and, as is
well-known, Jew-baiting is a national sport among them, cf. the
infamous Demianuk. Well, she's three generations removed from that and
now, of course, some of her best friends are Jews, to coin a phrase.
Heyna! Both of these things I find mildly annoying. But, WTF? I love
her. Heyna.


On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM, Joel S. Berson<Berson at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> 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.
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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