from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not restrained by definite limits, restrictions, or structure.
  • adj. Allowing for or adaptable to change.
  • adj. Inconclusive or indefinite: "faintly bemused and uneasily open-ended about the whole horrible business” ( Charles Michener).
  • adj. Allowing for a spontaneous, unstructured response: an open-ended question.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. unrestricted by definite limits
  • adj. adaptable to change
  • adj. permitting a spontaneous or unstructured response
  • adj. Of a straight draw, made up of four consecutive cards, thus able to be completed by either of two ranks of card.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. allowing for a spontaneous response. Contrasted to multiple-choice.
  • adj. without fixed limits or restrictions, as to tpoic or time.
  • adj. allowing for future changes or revisions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. allowing for future changes or revisions
  • adj. without fixed limits or restrictions
  • adj. allowing for a spontaneous response


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • He’s a very clever fellow and, through me, he was aware ofthis upcoming mission and he thought fast, and came up with a way of keeping West happy but also keeping him in the fold: he assigned West to me, as part of a long-term open-ended mission, to take part in archaeological research connected to the discovery of the Capstone.

    Seven Deadly Wonders

  • Mann 1973 raised questions about the “interminability” of long-term open-ended treatment and suggested that vaguely defined goals and therapist’s countertransference problems caused inappropriately prolonged therapy.

    Clinical Work with Adolescents

  • This is what makes being human so open-ended and laden with the potential for surprise and never-before-imagined possibilities.

    The Bushman Way of Tracking God

  • But Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. ambassador to Morocco, says the text is open-ended and broad.

    Is Libya Regime Change Ultimate Goal of International Coalition?

  • Here is some unsolicited advice for the Obama administration: you essentially have four days to put US involvement in the Libya war on a path that doesn't look like open-ended quagmire.

    Robert Naiman: When the House Comes Back, You're Gonna Get in Trouble

  • Thus, I cannot fathom Mr. Halevi's suggestion that the Israelis answer this repudiation of their most basic national rights with still more unilateral concessions, in the form of an open-ended freeze on construction in the disputed territories.

    Maybe the Right Middle East Term Is 'Peace For Land'

  • But true sci-fi still has an engaging open-ended, blue-sky anything's possible irreverence about it, which leaves most slipstreamers a bit out of synch.

    The Future of Science Fiction

  • The central bank so far has refused to uncork a massive and open-ended purchasing program many analysts believe is the only measure that can still contain the debt crisis.

    Spain Pays a Rich Yield as Euro-Zone Debt Slides

  • Cash-strapped German open-ended funds, which have traditionally been active buyers in the U.K., are selling U.K. buildings amid large redemptions by investors, say market participants.

    Non-U.K. Owners Hold Most of London's City

  • Activists say the open-ended action—which they named a "dignity strike"—is part of a wider civil-disobedience campaign they hope will help sustain the momentum of a movement that started in March as peaceful street protests.

    Syrians Go on Strike, Shun Vote


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