From its use in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, translating French Sésame, ouvre-toi in Antoine Galland's version of the Ali Baba story in the One Thousand and One Nights, possibly based on an oral Arabic source.
Not, as some have purported, a corruption of Open, says me!".
- open up! (especially referring to doors)
- Any successful means of achieving a result, especially means that are magical or technical, or otherwise beyond the understanding of most people.
- 1905, John Ruskin, The Works of John Ruskin, page lv:
- He who can read a true book aright has an open sesame to audiences with the great and wise of all time.
- 1963, William J. Palmer, Trial Tactics in California, page 57:
- Relevancy not always an open sesame having in mind the over-all authority and discretion of the trial judge.
- 2001 September 24, Gareth McLean, “Sympathy for a devil”, in The Guardian:
- When Mussolini was a young chap, he dabbled with socialism, imagining it to be an open sesame to a better society.