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[mawl; British also mal] /mɔl; British also mæl/
Also called shopping mall. a large retail complex containing a variety of stores and often restaurants and other business establishments housed in a series of connected or adjacent buildings or in a single large building.
Compare shopping center.
a large area, usually lined with shade trees and shrubbery, used as a public walk or promenade.
Chiefly Upstate New York. a strip of land, usually planted or paved, separating lanes of opposite traffic on highways, boulevards, etc.
the game of pall-mall.
the mallet used in the game of pall-mall.
the place or alley where pall-mall was played.
Origin of mall
1635-45; the Mall, a fashionable tree-lined promenade in 18th-century London, where originally the game pall-mall was played; see mell2
Can be confused
mall, maul, maw. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Aimless also, I turned into the mall, and again I started at the sight of a known figure.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • They walked slowly, still talking, until they came to the end of the mall.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • There were more men at work on the mall and along the streets on either side.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • I told him everything you told me, out on the mall, the day you came home.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • “The mall is where the fine people walk in the afternoon,” she said.

British Dictionary definitions for mall


/mæl; mɔːl/
a shaded avenue, esp one that is open to the public
(US & Canadian, Austral & NZ) short for shopping mall
Word Origin
C17: after The Mall, in St James's Park, London. See pall-mall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mall

1737, "shaded walk serving as a promenade," generalized from The Mall, name of a broad, tree-lined promenade in St. James's Park, London (so called from 1670s, earlier Maill, 1640s), which was so called because it formerly was an open alley that was used to play pall-mall, a croquet-like game involving hitting a ball with a mallet through a ring, from French pallemaille, from Italian pallamaglio, from palla "ball" (see balloon) + maglio "mallet" (see mallet). Modern sense of "enclosed shopping gallery" is from 1963. Mall rat is from 1985.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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