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skid row

[roh] /roʊ/
an area of cheap barrooms and run-down hotels, frequented by alcoholics and vagrants.
Also called Skid Road.
Origin of skid row
1930-35, Americanism; earlier skid road an area of a town frequented by loggers, originally a skidway Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for skid road
Historical Examples
  • The horse team and skid road is used in a small timber where poles and piling are being marketed.

    Motor Truck Logging Methods Frederick Malcolm Knapp
  • In pole and piling timber where a skid road and horses are used, loading is done by hand or with a team.

    Motor Truck Logging Methods Frederick Malcolm Knapp
British Dictionary definitions for skid road

skid road

noun (in the US and Canada)
a track made of a set of logs laid transversely on which freshly cut timber can be hauled
  1. (in the West) the part of a town frequented by loggers
  2. another term for skid row

skid row

(slang, mainly US & Canadian) a dilapidated section of a city inhabited by vagrants, etc
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 skid road

skid row


place where vagabonds, low-lifes, and out-of-work men gather in a town, 1921, with reference to Seattle, Washington, U.S., a variant of skid road "track of skids along which logs are rolled" (1851); see skid (n.); the sense of which was extended to "part of town inhabited by loggers" (1906), then, by hobos, to "disreputable district" (1915); probably shaded by the notion of "go downhill."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for skid road

skid road


Disreputable: a tightwad with latent skid-road tendencies

n phr,n

  1. A forest track over which logs are dragged (1880+ Loggers)
  2. (also Skid Road or Skidroad) A street or district of cheap shops and resorts; a relatively disreputable district: I headed towards the Skidroad and its cheap eating joints/ no skid road for the professor (1915+ Lumberjacks, hoboes & underworld)

[fr the log-paved path on which the Seattle lumberman Henry Yesler skidded logs to his sawmill]

Skid Row


A street or district frequented by derelicts, hoboes, drifters, etc, such as the Bowery in New York City

[1931+; fr skid road]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with skid road

skid row

A squalid district inhabited by derelicts and vagrants; also, a life of impoverished dissipation. For example, That part of town is our skid row, or His drinking was getting so bad we thought he was headed for skid row. This expression originated in the lumber industry, where it signified a road or track made of logs laid crosswise over which logs were slid. Around 1900 the name Skid Road was used for the part of a town frequented by loggers, which had many bars and brothels, and by the 1930s the variant skid row, with its current meaning, came into use.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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