- an area of cheap barrooms and run-down hotels, frequented by alcoholics and vagrants.
Origin of skid row
- a track made of a set of logs laid transversely on which freshly cut timber can be hauled
- (in the West) the part of a town frequented by loggers
- another term for skid row
- slang, mainly US and Canadian a dilapidated section of a city inhabited by vagrants, etc
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."
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.