On Facebook, you can create a group. You can further 'classify' the group wherein there's an option - 'closed'. When you create a group, the description for that group is shown as 'Closed group'.

Now there's a catch. If someone sees this group and reads 'Closed group', it may mean that the group is 'closed' and no more requests for joining the group is allowed. So, here, 'closed' is opposite to 'open'.

While writing a post on social media, I was stuck due to this ambiguity.

You can either join a closed group or can create one.

For a newbie, there's an obvious question - how can one join the group which is already closed! Blame past participle for this!

I think I can certainly use 'close' instead of 'closed' to avoid ambiguity.

You can either join a close group or ....

What say?

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    A "close group" would mean "a group whose members are close", that is, whose members have close relationships (they are devoted friends or colleagues etc.), IMHO. – CowperKettle Nov 24 '15 at 5:08
  • But then what if it has to take a limited number of members and once it's filled, it becomes 'closed group'? @CopperKettle – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 5:13
  • Probably "closed group" is ambiguous per se. – CowperKettle Nov 24 '15 at 5:20
  • That's why the question is! @CopperKettle – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 5:21

The "closed" in closed group does not mean "intimate".

It means "not public". It's opposite to the "open" in "open forum", a forum where everybody can join.

From dictionary.reference.com


  1. Not public; restricted; exclusive

A closed meeting; a closed bid at a private auction

So being a closed group does not pertain to the relationship of the members within that group. It means that the group is not easily accessible to people outside the group.

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  • Ah, this is what I wanted. I missed this definition somehow. Thanks :) – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 12:13

In Facebook, a "closed group" is a group that is closed to members who are not specifically allowed in by a group administrator. See this explanation from the Facebook help pages. The term is a bit open to confusion, but the word "closed" can mean closed to some things and open to others. For example, bars are closed to people under a certain age, but that doesn't mean that they are closed to everyone.

A "close group" would mean a group of people that were good friends or something like that, and that isn't the meaning that Facebook is trying to convey.

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    I think when we talk about intimacy, 'close' should be used with a plural noun. Like 'close friends', 'close groups'. Here, if you simply leave like this -'close group', it again adds some ambiguity to my eyes. – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 6:21
  • Also, do you mean that 'close' means open to specific? What's that use of the word? – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 6:22
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    @MaulikV I'm not sure why you'd think close has to be used with a plural noun. For example, a close friend of mine is a common phrase. – Damkerng T. Nov 24 '15 at 6:49
  • I know that. That's the reason I said "...if you leave like that...". Here, you have an entire sentence for that! @DamkerngT. Said that, simple 'close friend' as it is won't work; 'close friends' would... – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 6:53
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    A close group is a group of people that are close to one another in some way. This is a different word from the verb close, and pronounced differently. It has no relationship with the word open used as an adjective; the antonym for open is closed. – BobRodes Nov 24 '15 at 7:35

A close group describes the relationship within the group. A closed group describes the relationship with the outside world. Thus, a close group describes a group that is tightly knit and works together (Maulik V uses the word "intimacy" which is a good word for it). Meanwhile, a closed group describes a group that draws a line between itself and the world around it.

In general, you will find that closed groups tend to be close, because its hard for such a group to survive without being close, leading to confusion between the words.

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