Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


if someone such as a journalist doorsteps you, they come to your house to try to get information from you, although you do not want to talk to them

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The first use of doorstep as a verb is attributed to the English novelist Nancy Mitford, who used it in ‘The Pursuit of Love’, pubished in 1945. Mitford used the verb to mean ‘to leave on a doorstep‘, referring (metaphorically) to the abandonment of a child. The usual current meaning is the one shown above; it was first recorded in the 1960s. The noun dates from the early 19th century.


To doorstep someone is to come to their home uninvited, often asking intrusive questions. The practice is generally ascribed to journalists trying to get information for a story, often of a scandalous or sensitive nature.  Others who might doorstep people in their homes are political canvassers and salespeople. The verb comes directly from the earlier noun, which was first used at the start of the 19th century to mean a raised step between the street and someone’s front door. In British English the noun has another meaning, of a thick slice of bread, or of a sandwich made with two such thick slices. This meaning is first recorded at the end of the 19th century. Doorstep is also used in the phrase ‘on your doorstep‘. Something that is ‘on your doorstep‘ is close to where you live and therefore very convenient for you to use.


“He was doorstepped by ITV News, but refused to comment on the ongoing legal process.”
(enTenTen15 corpus)

A local politician doorstepped us yesterday (there must be an election looming if the politicians deign to visit).
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

nose around, pry, sniff around

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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