open·​ing | \ ˈōp-niŋ How to pronounce opening (audio) , ˈō-pə- \

Definition of opening

1a : an act or instance of making or becoming open
b : an act or instance of beginning : commencement especially : a formal and usually public event by which something new is put officially into operation
2 : something that is open: such as
a(1) : breach, aperture
(2) : an open width : span
b : an area without trees or with scattered usually mature trees that occurs as a break in a forest
c : two pages that face one another in a book
3 : something that constitutes a beginning: such as
a : a usually planned series of moves made at the beginning of a game of chess or checkers — compare endgame, middle game
b : a first performance
b : an opportunity for employment

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Examples of opening in a Sentence

the opening of a cave They squeezed through a narrow opening between the fence and an oak tree. The enemy's troops poured through an opening in our defenses. We went to the play's opening.
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Recent Examples on the Web Leonard Bernstein suggested that the symphony’s skewed percussive opening was a reflection of Mahler’s own uneven heartbeat. New York Times, "The Composer at the Frontier of Movie Music," 6 May 2021 San Francisco eventually wound up winning the opening game of the doubleheader 12-4. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Three strikes: Atlanta Braves' Huascar Ynoa might be NL's answer to Shohei Ohtani," 5 May 2021 Donavon Frankenreiter plays at 11 p.m. from the Coach House in Los Angeles, with Iris & the Shade and Matt Costa opening. Gary Graff, cleveland, "Dead and Company, Weezer, Evanescence and Van Morrison top this week’s streaming concerts," 5 May 2021 Mercier and a companion walk through the opening to the light and the ocean beyond., "In ‘malni … ,” the Pacific Northwest offers a fairy-tale beauty shot through with darkness," 5 May 2021 When Orlando grew after Disney World’s opening, the school eventually pivoted to a more general focus and rebranded itself as UCF. Gabrielle Russon,, "Disney World at 50: What would Orlando be like if The Mouse went somewhere else?," 5 May 2021 These phishing campaigns were built around tricking recipients into opening emails containing inline links to malicious URLs and subsequently tricking the victim into downloading dangerous files. Andy Meek, BGR, "Beware: This dangerous new malware can steal your passwords and your cryptocurrency," 5 May 2021 The opening image of a couple floating in the depth of a gray sky amid smoky clouds evokes Marc Chagall’s 1913 painting Over the Town (Flying Lovers), but its eerie cinematic realism feels more than comic. Armond White, National Review, "Movies Are Back: About Endlessness," 5 May 2021 Initially, the No. 7 seed hosts the No. 8 seed, with that single-game winner earning the No. 7 seed in the best-of-seven opening round of the playoffs. Ira Winderman,, "With Heat, Mavericks caught in web of play-in reality, has NBA created ‘enormous mistake’?," 4 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opening.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of opening

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for opening

Time Traveler

The first known use of opening was in the 13th century

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Statistics for opening

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Opening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for opening



English Language Learners Definition of opening

: a hole or empty space that you can go through
: the first part of something
: the first time that something happens


open·​ing | \ ˈō-pə-niŋ How to pronounce opening (audio) , ˈōp-niŋ \

Kids Definition of opening

1 : a place that is not enclosed or covered : clearing
2 : an act of making or becoming ready for use Neighbors are anxious for the opening of a new store.
3 : beginning People who came late missed the opening of the speech.
4 : occasion entry 1 sense 3 He was waiting for an opening to tell the joke.
5 : a job opportunity There is an opening in the legal department.


open·​ing | \ ˈōp-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce opening (audio) \

Medical Definition of opening

1 : an act or instance of making or becoming open
2 : something (as an anatomical aperture) that is open or opens

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