drew the door to

Gabriel Aparta

Senior Member
Español - Venezuela
Hi everyone, please, from Dracula by Bram Stoker:

The Professor took the key, opened the creaky door, and standing back, politely, but quite unconsciously, motioned me to precede him. There was a delicious irony in the offer, in the courtliness of giving preference on such a ghastly occasion. My companion followed me quickly, and cautiously drew the door to, after carefully ascertaining that the lock was a falling, and not a spring one.

Does this mean closed the door? Or something else? They are entering a tomb and of course they don't wish to end up inside without being able to go out. It seems strange to me the verb to draw when speaking about a door instead of a curtain for example.

Thanks a lot!
 
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  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I would assume from the context that "drew the door to" means he closed it in the same way that "to draw the curtains" means to close them.

    I don't think it reflects modern usage (we'd probably say "He pulled the door to"), but then "Dracula" was written 120 years ago. :)
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not sure. The meaning of "drew/pulled the door to" is a little vague (to me), so I think it's possible that he left the door ajar, having inspected the lock in order to ascertain whether it would be possible to leave the tomb if the door closed of its own accord. I think it's equally possible that he closed the door, having convinced himself that the lock was of a type that would allow him to open it again.
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Thanks, please, why the word to in drew the door to? What does it add to the meaning?
    I can only comment on modern usage, where "pull the door to" generally means to close the door but without engaging the latch (if there is one).

    Just "pull the door" by itself is at best odd, and at worst virtually meaningless in English.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, just "pulled the door" would be unidiomatic. "To" in the context of the extract from 'Dracula', means "toward the Professor":-
    adv.
    1. toward a point, person, place, or thing.
    2. toward a closed position pull the door to.
    (WordReference Random house Leaner's Dictionary of American English)
     
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