Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out – Origin & Meaning

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

The idiom don’t let the door hit you on the way out is a fairly recent saying in the English language. American in origin, variations of the saying have been around for a while as an insult to whomever you are saying it to.

Idioms are figurative words and phrases that have meanings different from the literal use of those words. Let’s take a closer look at the origin and meaning of this phrase so you can use it in your speech and writing.

What Is the Meaning of Don’t Let the Door Hit You?

Dont Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out – Origin Meaning

Don’t let the door hit you is a shorthand version of an idiom that means someone is happy to see you go or that you are no longer welcome and that you should leave. It could be used in a teasing manner, but its use doesn’t suggest a friendly tone.

Don’t let the door hit you is another way of saying “good riddance.”

Variations of the Expression

There are several longer versions of the idiom, all of which mean the same thing:

  • Don’t let the door hit you on the way out
  • Don’t let the door hit you in the backside
  • Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out Sentence Examples

  • After you lock up for the night, you can drop your key in the box and be sure not to let the door hit you on the way out.
  • Elizabeth looked the newcomer up and down before turning on her heel and letting him know he shouldn’t let the door hit him on the way out.
  • To everyone who feels they would be better off somewhere else, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Origins of the Phrase

Let the door hit you ngram
Let the door hit you usage trend.

There are no certain documented sources of when various don’t let the door hit you phases entered into American English. However, it became very popular in the 1970s, possibly originating as don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you via African American slang to avoid profanity.

Through the years, different endings to the first part of the phrase have been added.

Let’s Review

Don’t let the door hit you is the first part of an idiom that became popular in America in the 1970s as part of a slang phrase meaning that someone is suggesting you are no longer welcome and to leave.

The phrase is a way to say good riddance and is never used in a manner that is not insulting to some degree.

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