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open season (countable and uncountable, plural open seasons)

  1. (hunting, sometimes followed by on or for to designate the kind of animal hunted) A period of time during the calendar year when authorities within a jurisdiction permit the unrestricted hunting of one or more kinds of animal wildlife.
    • 1912, Jack London, The Scarlet Plague, ch. 1:
      "But there weren't many crabs in those days," the old man wandered on. "They were fished out, and they were great delicacies. The open season was only a month long, too."
  2. (figuratively, often followed by on or for) A situation in which someone is endangered, blamed, harassed, or opposed in a sustained manner by a number of others; a situation in which something is endangered or otherwise opposed.
    • 1919, William MacLeod Raine, A Man Four-Square, Prologue:
      In the country of the Clantons there was always an open season on any one of his name.
    • 1964 March 20, "Patents: Knocking Down the Pole," Time:
      The court thus overruled all the states' protective laws, except against outright fraud, and declared open season on any products not protected by patents.
    • 2009, "Tawny Weber," Coming on Strong, →ISBN, p. 37:
      The paparazzi and gossip hounds have declared open season on celebrities.
  3. (idiomatic, often followed by on or for) A situation in which or period of time during which some activity or circumstance routinely occurs.
    • 1921, Peter B. Kyne, The Pride of Palomar, ch. 15:
      "My dear Miss Parker, this is the open season on terrible practical jokes."
    • 1959 Oct. 26, "Music: Curtains Up!," Time:
      The open season on culture in Manhattan used to begin with the first stroke of a Metropolitan Opera baton.