What does the expression ‘the door stood ajar’ mean?

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What does ‘ajar’ mean? Is it used in everyday English?

When we say that ‘the door is standing ajar’, this means that the door isn’t completely closed but isn’t fully open either. So the door is slightly open, there’s a gap or space between the door and the doorframe.

The word ajar can be used as an adjective or an adverb and it describes something that is a little bit open like a shoebox that is ajar or a refrigerator door or a window that is slightly open for example.

This isn’t the most common word but you will hear it in everyday situations or read it in novels so it is a good idea to be aware of it and to try to use it every now and then.

Here are some examples of ‘ajar’ being used:

  • The door stood ajar which allowed the students to eavesdrop on the discussion among the teachers and parents regarding the class trip this fall.
  • The boy didn’t close his lunchbox properly, it was left ajar for all of the flies and insects to enjoy while he and his family were on vacation.
  • During summer nights, a lot of people like to leave their windows ajar to let the breeze into their homes. 
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