How should I understand the phrase marked in bold in the following sentence?

Then, feeling light-headed and forlorn, I trudged to her bedroom and - unable to resist - cracked the door a sliver.

What role does the word "sliver" plays in this context?

Note: The original question asked about cracking the door a silver, not sliver.

  • 2
    sliver, not silver.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 18, 2019 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


In this context a "sliver" is a very narrow opening. The door has been opened just enoiugh to see out with one eye, perhaps. Indeed "sliver" here is a bit redundant with "cracked", but the redundancy emphasizes the narrowness of the opening

In other contexts a sliver is a thin or narrow slice or section of something. "A sliver of cake" is the thinnest possible slice of cake. "A sliver of wood" is a very thin piece of wood, probably too small to do much of anything with.

"Sliver" can also be used as a verb, meaning "to split or cut off (a sliver)", "to split or cut into slivers", or "to split"

As a comment notes, "cracked" in the original sentence could have been rendered as 'cracked open" which might have been clearer, but this sort of elision is very common, and would be understood by any fluent speaker.

See dictionary definitions:

  • 1
    It would be helpful to say that "cracked" means "cracked open". The word "open" has been dropped from the original sentence -- by ellipsis (Definition). Sep 24, 2019 at 9:31
  • 1
    @whiskeychief I think that when the answer says "The door has been opened just enough" that point is made clear. But I have edited my answer. Sep 24, 2019 at 13:39

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