I was doored

The wonders of verbing: the very useful, but extremely context-specific, verb door, usually seen in the passive, as in this account from a serious bicyclist:

I was doored on April Fools Day

… I left the house around 10:30 in the morning with the plan to ride the loop and then out and back Canada.

As I manuvered through the neighborhoods to get to my route the next thing I knew I hit a car door and was flat on the ground. HOLY MOLY, is this a joke? I got up and yelled “UNBELIEVABLE, this is my first ride in 8 months!” The woman was shaken up and was very nice, but it still totally sucked.

Many, many examples. And some in the active. Here’s one with both:

I got doored last week on Lexington in Midtown. I wasn’t hurt badly, but I was really pissed, so I called the cops. They were there in less than 5 minutes. They issued 2 tickets to the driver of the limo that doored me.

The verb door packages a description of a whole complex event: someone opens a vehicle door right in the path of a bicyclist, who then runs unavoidably into the door, often to considerable damage to the rider and the bike; or the door hits a passing bicycle as it opens. Unfortunately common events on city streets. (Apparently, some people can also use the verb to describe opening a car door in front of another car.)

Door is a transitive verb, with its subject denoting the person who opens the door or the vehicle whose door is opened and with its direct object denoting the unfortunate cyclist or their bicycle. (And some people can use the verb with the opposite assignment of participant roles to syntactic relations: for them, cyclists can door cars.)

That’s a lot to pack into a one-syllable verb, but if the event is common enough, and significant enough to the people involved, it’s good to have a compact expression for it.

 

3 Responses to “I was doored”

  1. H. R. Freckenhorst Says:

    Can someone translate?

    I left the house around 10:30 in the morning with the plan to ride the loop and then out and back Canada.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      The writer is a triathlete who lives in Redwood City CA (a few miles north of Palo Alto, where I live). It seems she regularly rides on Cañada Road (the name tends to appear on signs and maps as Canada Road), part of which is closed on Sundays for use by bicyclists.

      I would have written “out Canada and back” or “out and back along Canada” rather than “out and back Canada”, but her usage might have been encouraged by the runner/bicyclist use of “an out and back course”.

  2. Andrew Says:

    I wonder if “to door” was inspired in part by analogy with “to floor”.

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