open-end·​ed ˌō-pən-ˈen-dəd How to pronounce open-ended (audio)
: not rigorously fixed: such as
: adaptable to the developing needs of a situation
: permitting or designed to permit spontaneous and unguided responses
open-endedness noun

Examples of open-ended in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Past studies often conflated general communication, in which individuals extract meaning from signals sent by other individuals, with language’s more specific, flexible and open-ended system. Sonia Shah, New York Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Their acquaintance seems promising but is left open-ended. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 Optimism about Ukraine’s success has begun to waver, leading to uneasiness about a major, open-ended war on European soil. Liana Fix, Foreign Affairs, 12 Sep. 2023 This open-ended set encourages creativity without kids needing to comply with Lego set instructions. Maya Polton, Parents, 26 Sep. 2023 In an open-ended question, 8% express a preference for Kamala Harris, 8% for Bernie Sanders and 7% for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with other mentions in the low single digits. Gary Langer, ABC News, 23 Sep. 2023 While some retrospectives serve as a rubber stamp on a designer’s legacy, this one is a bit more open-ended. Véronique Hyland, ELLE, 8 Sep. 2023 My mother experienced complications and was in the hospital while my dad was staying with them, which was stressful and open-ended. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2023 Wyatt’s characters often broke pro wrestling’s norms and pushed boundaries in the athletic artform, utilizing special effects, puppets and mysteriously layered characters that often left story arcs open-ended and speculative. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 28 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'open-ended.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of open-ended was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near open-ended

Cite this Entry

“Open-ended.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on open-ended

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