These are different definitions of "revolving door", please tell me how do they relate to each other?
1-A door, especially at the entrance of a building, typically made of three or four rigid upright sections joined at right angles and rotating about a central upright pivot.

2-A situation in which people with experience in an industry take government jobs in agencies that set policy for that industry and in which government employees take private-sector jobs in order to use their connections and knowledge to favorably influence government policy regarding their industry. 3-A situation in which people remain or work only a short time before going elsewhere.

  • They are the same.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 15, 2015 at 19:06
  • The context of the usage will normally make it apparent which sense applies.
    – Erik Kowal
    Jan 16, 2015 at 7:02

3 Answers 3


The reason why the term revolving door is used as a metaphor for politics, workplaces, or even relationships, is that it connotes the idea that one person is leaving just as another person is entering. This is possible in a revolving door, which accepts traffic both ways simultaneously, but not a regular door, which is typically too narrow.

The revolving door as a symbol also acts the sense of blurr - people entering and leaving both fast and frequently.


Likening a position at a company or a political office to a revolving door is what's known as a figure of speech, or when you use words that have one meaning to evoke another meaning that isn't based on the literal meaning of the words.

For the last definition you provided, saying that John's position is like a revolving door means that John isn't likely to stay at the company due to the fact that people in his position often are out of it fairly quickly--"almost as fast as though he walked in and walked out of a revolving door." This is an example of a simile.


Your second and third definitions of revolving door click here and then here use the first definition metaphorically and finally, here

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