When you say something is open, do you use відчинений or відкритий? Are they synonyms, or does it depend on the subject (or something else)?

Which is more intuitive to use for "the border is open", "the road is open", "the door is open", "the box is open", or any other examples you think would be illustrative?

1 Answer 1


Just like in English there are to shut and to close, Ukrainian has several words for this purpose:

  • Відкривати — open — новий ресторан, змагання, засідання, таємницю, душу, карти, рахунок, закон фізики, комусь очі на правду — a new restaurant, a competition, a council, (to reveal) a secret, a soul, (to reveal) playing cards, an account, (to discover) a law of physics, someone's eyes to the truth;
  • Закривати — close — ресторан на ремонт, змагання, засідання, рахунок — a restaurant for the maintenance, a competition, a council, an account;
  • Відмикати, замикати — unlock/lock — замок, ключем двері — a lock, a door with a key;
  • Відчиняти, зачиняти — open/shut — двері, вікна, кватирку, ворота, хату — a door, windows, a little ventilation window, a gate, a house;
  • Розгорнути, згорнути — unfold/fold — книгу, зошит, газету — a book, a notebook, a newspaper;
  • Розплющувати, заплющуватиочі — eyes.

Practically, you could use відкривати/закривати in all cases. Subjectively, I would not consider that a bad mistake as many people use it in a daily conversation, especially in Central and Eastern regions. This, in turn, has been probably caused by the fact that in the times of forced russification, all other verbs in the list were suppressed so that the Ukrainian language looked more similar to the russian.

So, in your case:

  • the border is open — кордон вікрито / кордон є відкритим / відкритий кордон;
  • the road is open — дорогу відкрито / дорога є відкритою / відкрита дорога;
  • the door is open → двері відчинено / двері є відчиненими / відчинені двері; if you explicitly mean a key was used for opening the door, then it would be відімкнено;
  • the box is open — again, it would be скриню відчинено or відкрито or, if a key/lock is used, відімкнено.

Source: Мова — ДНК нації (Language as the DNA of the nation)

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