It strikes me that almost always using all four adjectives "open/closed" and "undone/done" for all the words "button", "zipper", "fly" and "zip" can be used interchangeably and freely; but I need to make sure about it!

- Your (zipper / button / fly / zip) is undone/open.
- Your (zipper / button / fly / zip) is done/closed.

Is there some fixed terms about it in English or depending on personal preference one can use each one of them?


"Done" doesn't really mean "closed" in the context of dressing; rather it implies completion.

You expect someone wearing trousers to close their fly, so once they do that, the zipper is done. The reverse is to undo it.

We also use the same expressions with buttons. If you put a button into an eyelet, the button is done. We idiomatically say "I have done up the buttons". If a button pops out of the eyelet we say "it has come undone", or if we deliberately unfasten it then "I have undone the button". It is not common to say open or close about a button - we would say "fasten/unfasten".

Other items of clothing about which one might say done/undone include neck ties and shoelaces. Otherwise one would say "tied/untied" about both of these.

  • do you mean that "do up a zipper/fly/zip" or simply "do a zipper/fly" is an optional alternative for "zip up" and it is just a matter of personal taste to use each one? – A-friend Apr 15 '19 at 11:59
  • Using either do up or fasten for shirts button is normal? (Also, on the other hand using undo or unfasten!) – A-friend Apr 15 '19 at 12:06
  • In English, you do a zipper or do up a it? – A-friend Apr 15 '19 at 12:08
  • Zippers can be "open" or "closed" in spite of the buttons which cannot? – A-friend Apr 15 '19 at 12:10
  • Both "zipper" and "button" can be done up as @Jason Bassford mentioned above? – A-friend Apr 15 '19 at 12:12

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