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Alternative forms




From Anglian Old English strēt (street) (cognate West Saxon form strǣt) from Proto-West Germanic *strātu (street), an early borrowing from Late Latin (via) strāta (paved (road)), from Latin strātus, past participle of sternō (stretch out, spread, bestrew with, cover, pave), from Proto-Indo-European *sterh₃- (to stretch out, extend, spread).

Cognate with Scots stret, strete, streit (street), Saterland Frisian Sträite (street), West Frisian strjitte (street), Dutch straat (street), German Low German Straat (street), German Straße (street), Swedish stråt (way, path), Icelandic stræti (street) (Scandinavian forms are borrowed from Old English), Portuguese estrada (road, way, drive), Italian strada (road, street). Related to Old English strēowian, strewian (to strew, scatter), Latin sternō, Ancient Greek στορνύναι (stornýnai). More at strew.

The /aː/ vowel of the Latin form shifted by Anglo-Frisian brightening to /æː/ in West Saxon and /eː/ in Anglian Old English; these developed respectively to /ɛː/ and /eː/ in Middle English, /eː/ and /iː/ in Early Modern English, and finally /iː/ in Modern English by the Great Vowel Shift. The modern spelling reflects the Anglian form, as in sleep, greedy, sheep.





street (plural streets)

a street
  1. A paved part of road, usually in a village or a town.
    Walk down the street until you see a hotel on the right.
  2. A road as above, but including the sidewalks (pavements) and buildings.
    I live on the street down from Joyce Avenue.
  3. (specifically, US) The roads that run perpendicular to avenues in a grid layout.
  4. Metonymic senses:
    1. The people who live in such a road, as a neighborhood.
    2. The people who spend a great deal of time on the street in urban areas, especially, the young, the poor, the unemployed, and those engaged in illegal activities.
      • 2006, Noire [pseudonym], Thug-A-Licious: An Urban Erotic Tale, New York, N.Y.: One World, Ballantine Books, →ISBN, page 24:
        Take or be taken. Get yours or get got. It was the code of the streets and I'd lived by it. The way things was looking, I was prolly gone die by it too.
    3. An illicit or contraband source, especially of drugs.
      I got some pot cheap on the street.
      The seized drugs had a street value of $5 million.
    4. (finance) Ellipsis of Wall Street.
      Orders were reported to have increased 2% monthly, ahead of the 1.2% expected by the street.
      Professional services and other revenue made up $577 million, edging out street estimates for $541.4 million.
  5. (attributive) Living in the streets.
    a street cat
  6. (slang, uncountable) Streetwise slang.
    • 2008, Andrew Fleming, Pam Brady, Hamlet 2, Focus Features:
      Toaster is street for guns.
  7. (slang, in the plural) People in general, as a source of information.
    Streets say something's happening tomorrow.
  8. (figuratively) A great distance.
    He's streets ahead of his sister in all the subjects in school.
    • 2011, Tom Fordyce, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 12-19 France”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1]:
      England were once again static in their few attacks, only Tuilagi's bullocking runs offering any threat, Flood reduced to aiming a long-range drop-goal pit which missed by a street.
  9. (poker slang) Each of the three opportunities that players have to bet, after the flop, turn and river.
  10. (uncountable, sports) A style of skateboarding featuring typically urban obstacles.

Usage notes

  • In the generic sense of "a road", the term is often used interchangeably with road, avenue, and other similar terms.
  • In its narrow usage, street specifically means a paved route within a settlement (generally city or town), reflecting the etymology, while a road is a route between two settlements. Further, in many American cities laid out on a grid (notably Manhattan, New York City), streets are contrasted with avenues and run perpendicular to each other, with avenues frequently wider and longer than streets.
  • In the sense of "a road", the prepositions in and on have distinct meanings when used with street, with "on the street" having idiomatic meaning in some dialects. In general for thoroughfares, "in" means "within the bounds of", while "on" means "on the surface of, especially traveling or lying", used relatively interchangeably ("don’t step in the street without looking", "I met her when walking on the street").
  • By contrast, "living on the street" means to be living an insecure life, often homeless or a criminal. Further, to "hear something on the street" means to learn through rumor, also phrased as "word on the street is...".


proper and other capitalized nouns form using street (noun), literally and figuratively:

Derived terms

proper nouns


  • Belizean Creole: schreet





street (comparative more street, superlative most street)

  1. (slang) Having street cred; conforming to modern urban trends.
    • 2003, Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill, James P. Baen, Mad Maudlin:
      Eric had to admit that she looked street—upscale street, but still street. Kayla's look tended to change with the seasons; at the moment it was less Goth than paramilitary, with laced jump boots.



street (third-person singular simple present streets, present participle streeting, simple past and past participle streeted)

  1. To build or equip with streets.
    • 1619 July 15 (Gregorian calendar), James Howell, “XII. To Sir James Crofts. Antwerp.”, in Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ. Familiar Letters Domestic and Forren. [], 3rd edition, volume I, London: [] Humphrey Mos[e]ley, [], published 1655, →OCLC, section I, page 17:
      There are few places on this ſide the Alps better built, and ſo well Streeted as this, and none at all ſo well girt with Baſtions and Ramparts, which in ſome places are ſo ſpacious, that they uſually take the Air in Coaches upon the very Walls, which are beautified with divers rows of Trees and pleaſant Walks.
    • 1999, Ralph C. Hancock, America, the West, and Liberal Education, Rowman & Littlefield, →ISBN, page 89:
      After all, Thomas, in whose thinking Aristotle and Christ combine as never before or since, was censured by the Church, fortunately in absentia, after he had been " absented" from this little threshing floor, streeted with straw, our earth, and was, presumably, dwelling in beatific felicity, in any case, safe from Bishop Tempier.
    • 2011, Robert White, Romantic Getaways in San Francisco & the Bay Area, Hunter Publishing, Inc, →ISBN:
      There is a cemetery next to the Mission, a small part of the huge one which was streeted over.
  2. To eject; to throw onto the streets.
    • 1959, The Irish Digest:
      Stage doormen and all sorts of doormen are very quick at streeting a man who won't move fast. I know a well-known Irishman who at a New York theatre was streeted just because he was insisting on getting in when the house was apparently booked out.
  3. (sports, by extension) To heavily defeat.
    • 2002, John Maynard, Aborigines and the ‘Sport of Kings’: Aboriginal Jockeys in Australian Racing History, Aboriginal Studies Press, published 2013, →ISBN, part II, 96:
      Wearing his custom-made silks, McCarthy duly rode the horse a treat as they streeted the opposition and helped connections clean up the bookies.
    • 2008, Steve Menzies, Norman Tasker, chapter 1, in Beaver: The Steve Menzies Story, Allen & Unwin, →ISBN, page 5:
      But when I came back in Round 14, the team had lost only two of those previous 13 games, we were sitting with Melbourne at the top of the premiership table and the two clubs had virtually streeted the rest of the competition.
    • 2014, Rochelle Llewelyn Nicholls, Joe Quinn Among the Rowdies: The Life of Baseball's Honest Australian, McFarland & Company, Inc., →ISBN, part VI, chapter 14, 205:
      Pennant winners Kansas City and nearest rivals St. Paul had streeted the Western League in 1901, but were brought back to the field in 1902 by a powerful Omaha outfit who just missed out on the pennant, their .600 win-loss percentage just outdone by Kansas City's .603.
  4. To go on sale.
    • 2003, Billboard, page 55:
      He points to the success of a recent Destiny's Child DVD that streeted just after member Beyonce's new solo CD
    • 2005 February 12, Deborah Evans Price, “Winans Ready To ‘Celebrate’ New Album After Illness”, in Billboard[2], volume 117, number 7, page 18:
      “Family & Friends 5” was recorded last May in Detroit at Greater Grace Temple. The event was also taped for a DVD that streeted the same day as the CD.
  5. (Japanese Mormonism) To proselytize in public.
    • 2000, Dow Glenn Ostlund, The Lost Tribes of Isuraeru: Belief Tales Among Mormon Missionaries in Japan:
      A person I met streeting in Osaka told me the above Kanji examples as well as many others that I have since forgot.
    • 2007, John Patrick Hoffmann, Japanese Saints: Mormons in the Land of the Rising Sun, Lexington Books, →ISBN, page 94:
      Although streeting or tracting, as the first two contacting methods are known, tend to produce negligible results when seen through a broad sociological lens, there was often something about meeting American missionaries that appealed to our Japanese Latter-day Saints.
    • 2010, Eugene Woodbury, chapter 9, in Tokyo South, Peaks Island Press, →ISBN, page 86:
      They streeted the rest of the afternoon, and each picked up an intro lesson. They went back to the church after dinner.



Middle English





  1. Alternative form of strete