on the street

on the street


  1. a public thoroughfare, usually paved, in a village, town, or city, including the sidewalk or sidewalks.
  2. such a thoroughfare together with adjacent buildings, lots, etc.: Houses, lawns, and trees composed a very pleasant street.
  3. the roadway of such a thoroughfare, as distinguished from the sidewalk: to cross a street.
  4. a main way or thoroughfare, as distinguished from a lane, alley, or the like.
  5. the inhabitants or frequenters of a street: The whole street gossiped about the new neighbors.
  6. the Street, Informal.
    1. the section of a city associated with a given profession or trade, especially when concerned with business or finance, as Wall Street.
    2. the principal theater and entertainment district of any of a number of U.S. cities.


  1. of, on, or adjoining a street: a street door just off the sidewalk.
  2. taking place or appearing on the street: street fight; street musicians.
  3. coarse; crude; vulgar: street language.
  4. suitable for everyday wear: street clothes; street dress.
  5. retail: the street price of a new computer; the street value of a drug.


  1. 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.
  2. up one’s street, British. alley1(def 7).


    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
  1. the buildings lining a street
  2. the part of the road between the pavements, used by vehicles
  3. the people living, working, etc, in a particular street
  4. (modifier) of or relating to the urban counterculturestreet style; street drug
  5. man in the street an ordinary or average citizen
  6. on the streets
    1. earning a living as a prostitute
    2. homeless
  7. streets ahead of informal superior to, more advanced than, etc
  8. streets apart informal markedly different
  9. up one’s street or right up one’s street informal (just) what one knows or likes best

verb (tr)

  1. Australian to outdistance

n.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. Also, in the street. 1Without a job, unemployed, as in After they fired her she was on the street for two years. [First half of 1900s] 2Without a regular place of residence, homeless, as in It’s terrible to be on the street in winter. [Mid-1800s] 3Released from prison, as in One more year and he’ll be back in the street. [First half of 1900s] see back street; easy street; man in the street; on the street; side street; work both sides of the street.

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