open sesame

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From its use in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, translating French Sésame, ouvre-toi in Antoine Galland's version of the Ali Baba story in the One Thousand and One Nights, possibly based on an oral Arabic source.

Phrase[edit]

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open sesame!

  1. open up! (especially referring to doors)

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

open sesame (plural open sesames)

  1. Any successful means of achieving a result, especially means that are magical or technical, or otherwise beyond the understanding of most people.
    • 1905, John Ruskin, The Works of John Ruskin, page lv:
      He who can read a true book aright has an open sesame to audiences with the great and wise of all time.
    • 1963, William J. Palmer, Trial Tactics in California, page 57:
      Relevancy not always an open sesame having in mind the over-all authority and discretion of the trial judge.
    • 2001 September 24, Gareth McLean, “Sympathy for a devil”, in The Guardian:
      When Mussolini was a young chap, he dabbled with socialism, imagining it to be an open sesame to a better society.

Translations[edit]