An opening is an empty space. That opening in the back of your closet might lead to a secret room. A job opening, on the other hand, is an available job that could open you up to an entirely new career.

There are openings in crowds you can slip through if you're in a hurry, and openings, or availabilities, in classes you really want to take. You can also use this versatile noun to mean the very first performance of a play or the initial night of an art show. Many things that come first are openings, in fact, like the opening move in a chess game or the opening scene of your novel.

Primary Meanings of opening

an open or empty space in or between things
the first performance (as of a theatrical production)
the first of a series of actions
first or beginning
a possible alternative
Full Definitions of opening

n an open or empty space in or between things

“there was a small opening between the trees”
Denali Fault
a major open geological fault in Alaska
San Andreas Fault
a major geological fault in California; runs from San Diego to San Francisco; the source of serious earthquakes
show 36 types...
hide 36 types...
an opening at the corner or on the side of a billiard table into which billiard balls are struck
a gap or vacant space between two teeth
Ranvier's nodes, nodes of Ranvier
small gaps in the myelin sheath of medullated axons
foramen, hiatus
a natural opening or perforation through a bone or a membranous structure
an opening (especially a gap in a dike or fortification)
a deep opening in the earth's surface
cleft, crack, crevice, fissure, scissure
a long narrow opening
an opening into or through something
an opening that resembles a mouth (as of a cave or a gorge)
a gap between cloud masses
rent, rip, snag, split, tear
an opening made forcibly as by pulling apart
an opening that resembles a window in appearance or function
corner pocket
a pocket at the corner of a billiard table
side pocket
a pocket on the side of a billiard table
Monro's foramen, foramen of Monro, interventricular foramen
the small opening (on both the right and left sides) that connects the third ventricle in the diencephalon with the lateral ventricle in the cerebral hemisphere
foramen magnum
the large opening at the base of the cranium through which the spinal cord passes
abysm, abyss
a bottomless gulf or pit; any unfathomable (or apparently unfathomable) cavity or chasm or void extending below (often used figuratively)
a natural opening in something
a hole through which an animal may bolt when pursued into its burrow or den
bullet hole
a hole made by a bullet passing through it
a crack in a lip caused usually by cold
a narrow opening as e.g. between planks in a wall
a small opening or crevice (especially in a rock face or wall)
a deep fissure
fatigue crack
a crack in metal resulting from metal fatigue
break, fault, faulting, fracture, geological fault, shift
(geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
a deep wide chasm
an accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape
ozone hole
an area of the ozone layer (near the poles) that is seasonally depleted of ozone
a hole made in something
a hole (as in the wall of a building) made by rats
a narrow fissure in rock
a narrow fissure
a lengthwise crack in wood
vent, volcano
a fissure in the earth's crust (or in the surface of some other planet) through which molten lava and gases erupt
a hole in a board where a knot came out
Type of:
an empty area (usually bounded in some way between things)

n a vacant or unobstructed space that is man-made

“they left a small opening for the cat at the bottom of the door”
show 65 types...
hide 65 types...
an man-made opening; usually small
the flared opening of a tubular device
breech, rear of barrel, rear of tube
opening in the rear of the barrel of a gun where bullets can be loaded
exit, issue, outlet, way out
an opening that permits escape or release
fly, fly front
an opening in a garment that is closed by a zipper or by buttons concealed under a fold of cloth
crack, gap
a narrow opening
gun muzzle, muzzle
the open circular discharging end of a gun
an opening deliberately made in or through something
inlet, intake
an opening through which fluid is admitted to a tube or container
small opening between things
fenestella, lunette
oval or circular opening; to allow light into a dome or vault
the opening of a jar or bottle
neck, neck opening
an opening in a garment for the neck of the wearer; a part of the garment near the wearer's neck
an opening that resembles a window between two rooms (especially a shelved opening between a kitchen and dining room that is used to pass dishes)
embrasure, port, porthole
an opening (in a wall or ship or armored vehicle) for firing through
a long narrow opening
an opening that allows the passage of liquids or grain
an opening in the vamp of a shoe at the instep
grille, lattice, wicket
small opening (like a window in a door) through which business can be transacted
a transparent opening in a vehicle that allow vision out of the sides or back; usually is capable of being opened
an opening in a wall or screen that admits light and air and through which customers can be served
air hole
a hole that allows the passage of air
air horn
air intake of a carburetor
a hole through which you put your arm and where a sleeve can be attached
a hole in a barrel or cask; used to fill or empty it
button hole, buttonhole
a hole through which buttons are pushed
car window
a window in a car
a hole (usually in wood) with the top part enlarged so that a screw or bolt will fit into it and lie below the surface
the hole (or metal container in the hole) on a golf green
ear hole
a hole (as in a helmet) for sound to reach the ears
a small hole or loop (as in a needle)
eyehole, eyelet
a small hole (usually round and finished around the edges) in cloth or leather for the passage of a cord or hook or bar
finger hole
a hole for inserting a finger
finger hole
one of a series of holes in a woodwind instrument; pitch changes when a finger covers it
a spout that terminates in a grotesquely carved figure of a person or animal
hawse, hawsehole, hawsepipe
the hole that an anchor rope passes through
a slit in a garment that exposes material of a different color underneath; used in Renaissance clothing
the hole where a key is inserted
blank, lacuna
a blank gap or missing part
a small hole in a fortified wall; for observation or discharging weapons
lubber's hole
hole in a platform on a mast through which a sailor can climb without going out on the shrouds
a hole (usually with a flush cover) through which a person can gain access to an underground structure
mortice, mortise
a square hole made to receive a tenon and so to form a joint
mouth hole
a hole (as in a ski mask) for the mouth
embouchure, mouthpiece
the aperture of a wind instrument into which the player blows directly
a part that goes over or into the mouth of a person
nail hole
a hole left after a nail is removed
the line formed by the edge of a garment around the neck
nose, nozzle
a projecting spout from which a fluid is discharged
the outlet of a river or drain or other source of water
eyehole, peephole, spyhole
a hole (in a door or an oven etc) through which you can peep
a line of small holes for tearing at a particular place
a hole into which a plug fits (especially a hole where water drains away)
gunpoint, point
the gun muzzle's direction
post hole, posthole
a hole dug in the ground to hold a fence post
a small hole made by a sharp object
siamese, siamese connection
an inlet with two or more couplings to which a hose can be attached so that fire engines can pump water into the sprinkler system of a building
a small slit (as for inserting a coin or depositing mail)
sound hole
a hole in a soundboard (as of a violin) designed to resonate with the tones
spark gap
the gap between two high-potential terminals
the hole in a woodwind that is closed and opened with the thumb
ticket window
a window through which tickets are sold (as from a ticket booth)
blowhole, vent, vent-hole, venthole
a hole for the escape of gas or air
a slit in a garment (as in the back seam of a jacket)
V neck
the neck of a garment has the shape in front of the letter V
Type of:
artefact, artifact
a man-made object taken as a whole

n an aperture or hole that opens into a bodily cavity

orifice, porta
show 36 types...
hide 36 types...
external opening of urinary or genital system of a lower vertebrate
the opening into the archenteron
aortic orifice
the orifice from the lower left chamber of the heart to the aorta
a mouth or mouthlike opening (especially one created by surgery on the surface of the body to create an opening to an internal organ)
porta hepatis
opening for major blood vessels to enter and leave the liver
a breathing orifice
the externally visible part of the oral cavity on the face and the system of organs surrounding the opening
a mouth or mouthlike opening
cervix, cervix uteri, uterine cervix
necklike opening to the uterus
a small opening covered with membrane (especially one in the bone between the middle and inner ear)
the opening into the stomach and that part of the stomach connected to the esophagus
entrance or opening to a hollow organ or tube (especially the vaginal opening)
external orifice, urethral orifice
the orifice through which urine is discharged
a small circular opening between the stomach and the duodenum
the excretory opening at the end of the alimentary canal
fontanel, fontanelle, soft spot
any membranous gap between the bones of the cranium in an infant or fetus
any of the openings to the nasal cavities that allow air to flow through the cavities to the pharynx
a narrow elongated opening or fissure between two symmetrical parts
mouth of a protozoan
beak, bill, neb, nib, pecker
horny projecting mouth of a bird
beaklike mouth of animals other than birds (e.g., turtles)
the spiracle of a cetacean located far back on the skull
an external tracheal aperture in a terrestrial arthropod
mouth, oral cavity, oral fissure, rima oris
the opening through which food is taken in and vocalizations emerge
incompetent cervix
(obstetrics) uterine cervix that becomes dilated before term and without labor often resulting in miscarriage or premature birth
fenestra of the vestibule, fenestra ovalis, fenestra vestibuli, oval window
fenestra that has the base of the stapes attached to it
fenestra cochleae, fenestra of the cochlea, fenestra rotunda, round window
fenestra leading into the cochlea
pudendal cleavage, pudendal cleft, pudendal slit, rima pudendi, rima vulvae, urogenital cleft, vulvar slit
the fissure between the labia majora
asshole, bunghole
vulgar slang for anus
imperforate anus
a congenital defect of the anus; there is partial or complete obstruction of the anal opening
anterior fontanelle
corresponds to the bregma when bones have ossified
sphenoid fontanel, sphenoid fontanelle, sphenoidal fontanel, sphenoidal fontanelle
the irregularly shaped area on either side of the cranium where the frontal bone and the anterior tip of the parietal bone and the temporal bone and the greater wing of the sphenoid bone meet; corresponds to the pterion when bones have ossified
anterior naris, nostril
either one of the two external openings to the nasal cavity in the nose
posterior naris
either one of the two posterior openings at the back of the nasal cavity leading to the nasopharynx
glottis vera, rima glottidis, rima vocalis, true glottis
the space between the two true vocal folds
false glottis, glottis spuria, rima respiratoria, rima vestibuli
the opening between the false vocal folds
Type of:
passage, passageway
a path or channel or duct through or along which something may pass

n an entrance equipped with a hatch; especially a passageway between decks of a ship

hatchway, scuttle
escape hatch
hatchway that provides a means of escape in an emergency
Type of:
entrance, entranceway, entree, entry, entryway
something that provides access (to get in or get out)

n becoming open or being made open

“the opening of his arms was the sign I was waiting for”
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
cut, cutting
the act of penetrating or opening open with a sharp edge
nick, notch, snick
a small cut
gash, slash
a strong sweeping cut made with a sharp instrument
incision, section, surgical incision
the cutting of or into body tissues or organs (especially by a surgeon as part of an operation)
Type of:
change of integrity
the act of changing the unity or wholeness of something

n the act of opening something

“the ray of light revealed his cautious opening of the door”
closing, shutting
the act of closing something
Type of:
motility, motion, move, movement
a change of position that does not entail a change of location

n the first performance (as of a theatrical production)

“the opening received good critical reviews”
curtain raising, opening night
Type of:
the beginning of anything

n a ceremony accompanying the start of some enterprise

Type of:
ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony, observance
a formal event performed on a special occasion

n the first of a series of actions

first step, initiative, opening move
curtain raiser
any preliminary activity
first base
the initial stage in accomplishing something
peace initiative
opening move in negotiating a peace treaty
Type of:
beginning, commencement, start
the act of starting something

n the initial part of the introduction

“the opening established the basic theme”
an attention-getting opening presented at the start of a television show
word of greeting used to begin a letter
Type of:
the first section of a communication

n a recognized sequence of moves at the beginning of a game of chess

chess opening
Type of:
sequence, succession
the action of following in order

adj first or beginning

“the memorable opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth”
“the play's opening scene”
beginning, first
serving to begin
first, inaugural, initiative, initiatory, maiden
serving to set in motion
serving to open or begin
appropriate to the beginning or start of an event
final or ending
concluding, final, last, terminal
occurring at or forming an end or termination
coming to an end
taking place at the close of a fiscal year
show more antonyms...

n a possible alternative

possibility, possible action
something that can be done
Type of:
alternative, choice, option
one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

n opportunity especially for employment or promotion

“there is an opening in the sales department”
Type of:
chance, opportunity
a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.