on/in the street,
    1. without a home: You'll be out on the street if the rent isn't paid.
    2. without a job or occupation; idle.
    3. out of prison or police custody; at liberty.
    up one's street, British. alley1(def 7).

Origin of street

before 900; Middle English; Old English strēt, strǣt; cognate with Dutch straat, German Strasse; all ≪ Latin (via) strāta paved (road); see stratum
Related formsstreet·less, adjectivestreet·like, adjectivein·ter·street, adjective

Synonyms for street

1. roadway, concourse. Street, alley, avenue, boulevard all refer to public ways or roads in municipal areas. A street is a road in a village, town, or city, especially a road lined with buildings. An alley is a narrow street or footway, especially at the rear of or between rows of buildings or lots. An avenue is properly a prominent street, often one bordered by fine residences and impressive buildings, or with a row of trees on each side. A boulevard is a beautiful, broad street, lined with rows of stately trees, especially used as a promenade. In some cities street and avenue are used interchangeably, the only difference being that those running one direction (say, north and south) are given one designation and those crossing them are given the other. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for street

Contemporary Examples of street

Historical Examples of street

  • Sorely distressed, he walked back to his lodgings in Thirty-second Street.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • “I would not be seen in the street with that scarecrow,” murmured Giles.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • At Thirty-second Street he ran into Burman, with whom he had all but cornered wheat.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I did hear, too, that she takes a flyer in the Street now and then.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Mrs. Bines had never seen so many children as flooded this street.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for street



  1. (capital when part of a name)a public road that is usually lined with buildings, esp in a townOxford Street
  2. (as modifier)a street directory
the buildings lining a street
the part of the road between the pavements, used by vehicles
the people living, working, etc, in a particular street
(modifier) of or relating to the urban counterculturestreet style; street drug
man in the street an ordinary or average citizen
on the streets
  1. earning a living as a prostitute
  2. homeless
streets ahead of informal superior to, more advanced than, etc
streets apart informal markedly different
up one's street or right up one's street informal (just) what one knows or likes best

verb (tr)

Australian to outdistance

Word Origin for street

Old English strǣt, from Latin via strāta paved way (strāta, from strātus, past participle of sternere to stretch out); compare Old Frisian strēte, Old High German strāza; see stratus
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

Word Origin and History for street

Old English stret (Mercian, Kentish), stræt (West Saxon) "street, high road," an early West Germanic borrowing from Late Latin strata, used elliptically for via strata "paved road," from fem. past participle of Latin sternere "lay down, spread out, pave," from PIE *stre-to- "to stretch, extend," from root *stere- "to spread, extend, stretch out" (see structure (n.)). The Latin is also the source of Spanish estrada, Old French estrée, Italian strada.

"The normal term in OE for a paved way or Roman road, later extended to other roads, urban streets, and in SE dialects to a street of dwellings, a straggling village or hamlet" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]. Originally of Roman roads (e.g. Watling Street, Icknield Street). "In the Middle Ages, a road or way was merely a direction in which people rode or went, the name street being reserved for the made road." [Weekley] Used since c.1400 to mean "the people in the street;" modern sense of "the realm of the people as the source of political support" dates from 1931. Man in the street "ordinary person, non-expert" is attested from 1831. Street people "the homeless" is from 1967; street smarts is from 1972; street-credibility is from 1979.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with street


see back street; easy street; man in the street; on the street; side street; work both sides of the street.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.