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I came across this:

"The door between Russia and America is slam shut."

How to better understand "slam shut"? Is it like a door that was closed very noisily by applying too much force?

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  • 2
    Most likely "slammed shut"?
    – Dan Getz
    Jun 9 at 13:14
  • 1
    Where did you come across it?
    – Joachim
    Jun 9 at 13:16
  • Take more care with your quotes. Country names require capital letters. And how would you understand the quote? Jun 9 at 15:29

1 Answer 1

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To slam something shut is to close it with a lot of force, often resulting a loud noise or shock. To give a few examples:

He put the bag in the back seat and slammed the car door shut.
After seeing that the food inside was moldy, he slammed the tupperware shut.

This verb phrase is a common use of the word slam, which almost always involves a large or excessive amount of force, noise, and shock. Wiktionary defines it (in part) as

  1. To shut with sudden force so as to produce a shock and noise.
  2. To put in or on a particular place with force and loud noise.

The example you give is ungrammatical in almost all interpretations. Since slam shut is a verb phrase, it needs to be something like:

The door between Russia and America has been slammed shut
The door between Russia and America was slammed shut

Note that these do not mean the same thing.

This quote is based on the idiom to shut (or; slam) the door on someone, which means to refuse to talk or engage with. Some examples taken from wiktionary:

Contentment with the past may no longer shut the door on science.
Let's shut the door on conflict.
Yet Tressel didn't slam the door on the possibility that Wells might still play in Saturday's game against Ohio University.

The adjective (or adjectival phrase) slam-shut apparently does see a small amount of use (on the internet at least), but it is very very usual and I had never heard of it before googling it here.

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  • Slamming a Tupperware container shut might require special skills. Jun 9 at 15:33

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