Close-minded or Closed-minded?




Some of you are going to hate this, but both closed-minded and close-minded are acceptable.

Closed-minded is traditionally correct, and still recommended by the more respected publications, but close-minded has been commonly used for some time. See the chart below comparing the two in English publications this century.


Word use chart

It’s interesting (to me anyway) that the word didn’t show up in either form before the 20th Century and only became common in the 1960s. Clearly closed-minded is preferred, but there are enough instances of close-minded to suggest it’s okay too. Most dictionaries list them as accepted alternatives.

I’m sticking with closed-minded because it makes more sense. For this kind of person, the mind is closed, not close (close to what?). I understand that close-minded is easier to pronounce, but that’s the wimpy way out. Plus, there’s something in me that associates close-minded with clothes-minded, which seems like a good description for my teenage daughters.

Anyway, if this is an area of concern to you, let it trouble you no longer. Be willing to accept both versions; otherwise, you open yourself to accusations of being, well, you know.


Bring your comments, people. Questions, comments, criticisms, whatever. Post them below.

About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Paul Schwarz
    Paul Schwarz06-28-2012

    This post reminded me of a relative who once wrote to me about leaving things hanging on the close-line.

  2. Merri Larsen
    Merri Larsen06-28-2012

    Wow! Thought I knew it all – but I didn’t. I learned a thing or two….

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko06-28-2012

      Hm. I thought you knew it all too, Merri! ­čÖé

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