wide open

Idioms & Phrases

wide open

  1. Unresolved, unsettled, as in The fate of that former colony is still wide open. [Mid-1900s]

  2. Unprotected or vulnerable, as in That remark about immigrants left him wide open to hostile criticism. This expression originated in boxing, where it signifies being off one's guard and open to an opponent's punches. It began to be used more broadly about 1940. Also see leave open.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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