Green’s Dictionary of Slang

door n.

1. (Aus.) a room rented by a prostitute with a door opening onto the street from which she can solict custom [euph.; note similar imagery in 17C door, the vulva].

G. Johnston in Sun (Sydney) 16 June 3/3-4: who is to say that a ‘door’ in Palmer Street is more or less a brothel than a score of other places which are used for exactly the same purpose? [...] ‘Nothing much happens in the ’Loo or similar parts after 10 at night,’ a resident said, rather surprising us. ‘The ‘doors’ are generally closed up for the night by then.’ An authority on this area said that it was almost impossible to find out exactly from whom the women rented the door.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks.

2. (US prison) the end of one’s sentence.

[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] To the Door: How long one has to serve. As in, ‘I got five to the door.’ (FL).

In compounds

door-picker (n.)

one who works security for a club, selecting those who may or may not be admitted.

H. Kunzru Transmission 11: Guy Swift, thirty-three years old, UK citizen, paper millionaire [...] He had the number of the door-picker at the Chang Bar on his speed dial. You would have thought he was untouchable.

In phrases

work a door (v.) (also work a house) [SE door/ house n.1 (1)]

to work as a prostitute, standing or sitting in one’s own doorway; thus door-worker, a brothel prostitute.

G. Johnston in Sun (Sydney) 16 June 3/4: There are a number of areas in the city from which they operate - the largest and most concentrated of which is in East Sydney, around Palmer Street. Their job is known as ‘working a door.’ In this particular area, small but compact, there are possibly about 100 girls and women working the doors. They sit, or stand in the door ways, but they don’t solicit. Their customers come to them — although often men are employed as outside agents or touts.
G. Johnston in Sun (Sydney) 16 June 3/5: They are usually not a serious cause of the spread of VD infection (a recent charge brought against a woman in this area who had contracted VD was the first venereal infection among this particular group of doorworkers for over three years) and they act in some degree as a safety valve for animal forces in the community.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks 124: Many of them [i.e. prostitutes] conduct their affairs by what is known as working a door.
[US]J. Steinbeck Sweet Thursday (1955) 42: Ever worked a house?
[US]M. Rumaker Exit 3 and Other Stories 43: ‘You working the house?’ asked the sailor.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

back-door shaker (n.)

(US) a tramp who approached farmers (by knocking on the farmhouse back door) for short-term casual work.

Lincoln Eve. Jrnl (NE) 7 Apr. 9/3: The old ‘back door shaker’ either became a soldier during the war or [...] went to work in a munitions factory.

In compounds

doorknob (n.)

see separate entries.

door-knock/-knocker (n.)

see separate entries.

doormat (n.)

see separate entry.

door shaker (n.) [patrolling police or security guards shake doors to check that they are locked] (US)

1. a security guard.

Contested Election Case of Robert W. Bonynge Vs. John F. Shafroth from the 1st Cong. District Colorado I 786: Q. He is a half-pay policeman, a block watcher. Mr. Vidal. What you would call a door shaker? A. A door shaker, that is what he is.
[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) 15 Aug. 6/6: Brown, superintendant of Hagan’s one time force of ‘door shakers’ (the underworld parlance for special police).
[US]Pittsburgh Press (PA) 1 Feb. 3/3: Special Officer ‘Jake’ Spear, who is official night ‘door shaker’ for commission houses [...] on Penn Ave., fired at a burglar suspect and shot an owl.
Kingsport Times (TN) 26 May 8/6: Every man who pays a merchant policeman for watching his business is required [...] to report the ‘door shaker’ as being on his payroll.
Dick Tracy 28 Mar. [synd. cartoon] Night watchman or just a door shaker? [...] It’s the first time I ever knew a door shaker to grab anything but a door-knob.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 225: I don’t know what professional is, unless it’s being a professional doorshaker.
[US]B. Jackson Thief’s Primer 97: in this town they have door shakers.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 132: I know it’s him because a the noises the doorshaker said he made.
J. Bowers In Land of Nyx 22: He called himself a Security Enforcer; everyone else, I learned, called him the Door Shaker.

2. (US Und.) an opportunistic thief who takes advantage of unlocked doors, but does not actually break locks.

Hutchinson News (KS) 8 May 3/7: A persistent window peeper and door shaker [...] made two separate attempts to enter the home of Mr and mrs Frank W. Sampson.
Muncie Star (IN) 22 Oct. 4/4: Are store managers and merchants ‘getting careless or are door shakers at work trying to effect entries into local business places?’ wondered Capt. Jack Ertel.
S. Lewin in Crime & Its Prevention 40 28: The ‘door shaker’ merely enters an apartment house or hotel and begins turning door knobs until he finds one that is unlocked.
W. Camp Jacobs Park Killings 183: Sleet was a door-shaker [...] and door-shakers, like pimps, are strictly night workers.
C. & G. O’Hara Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation 1988: It should be noted that many apartment dwellers are careless about locking their doors—a fact which is well known to the ‘door shaker,’ a burglar with minimal technique who simply goes through.

3. a police officer.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 60/2: Door-shaker. A watchman or policeman who tries the doors of locked shops, etc.
R. McAllister Kind of Guy I Am 63: ‘Go on, ya door shaker!’ ‘He's a yentzer! Wants our whiskey.’ I didn't alter my pace by a single beat, but marched directly [...] to the railroad tracks, then turned about and started back.
Jrnl College & University Personnel Assoc. 22 111: Gone are the days of the ‘patriarchal patrolman’ who doubled in brass as night watchman, father confessor, door shaker, and tolerated tool of the administration.
Criminal Justice Rev. 3-4 90: lt was my job to watch the joint for three or four nights and see when the door shaker (night watchman or policeman) would come by.
doorstep (n.)

see separate entry.

from the door

(US) from the very beginning.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 27: It was the fuzz’s action from the door. They wanted me gone.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 105: The place had been a hit from the door on in .
out the door [the situation is so bad one has to leave the room]

(US) an intensifer.

(con. 1980s) [Internet] out the door A suffix used at the end of a phrase. ‘Gag me out the door.’ Meaning, something gag[g]ed them so much they had to leave the room.
you make a better door than a window

a phr. used to someone who is blocking one’s view.

[US]Sabetha Herald (KS) 14 Sept. 10/2: A boy yelled this at Tom Pace, who weighs 250 [pounds]: "Say you’d make a better door than a window’.
[US]Oswego Indep. (KS) 16 Feb. 6/3: Get your head out of my way. I can’t see. Say, you’d make a better door than a window.
C. Clark Modern Ping-Pong 60: If you don’t move], your partner would have the right to say, ‘You make a better door than a window’.
Southwest Rev. 33-4 232: ‘You make a better door than a window!’ Mr. Richter laughed roughly at his son for getting into his eye-way.
[US]Western Folklore 17 180: You make a better door than a window.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 1 Oct. 11F/2: He didn’t get [the ball] but blocked the vision of Denny, who did. ‘He makes a better door than a window,’ observed Denny.
T. Ardizzone Evening News 27: ‘You make a better door than a window.’ Paul asks Maria if he can get her anything, [...] if she wants her feet or back rubbed.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 128/1: you make a better door than a window addressed to somebody needlessly in your way, perhaps standing in front of the television; c. 1920. NZ and US.
J. McCormick Up on Plane 98: ‘You make a better door than a window,’ a voice behind him yelled.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].