Aisle



a walkway between or along sections of seats in a theater, classroom, or the like.
Architecture.

a longitudinal division of an interior area, as in a church, separated from the main area by an arcade or the like.
any of the longitudinal divisions of a church or the like.

in the aisles, (of an audience) convulsed with laughter.
Contemporary Examples

It was a moment 10 years in the making and even earned Obama praise from his often critical peers across the aisle.
Obama’s 11 Most Badass Moments (Videos) Brittany Jones-Cooper April 24, 2012

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and activists on the left and the right are taking action to roll back imprisonment rates.
Are Prisons Bleeding Us Dry? Sheila A. Bedi November 30, 2013

The mistletoe must have been hanging right across the aisle on Capital Hill.
Congress’ Gift That Keeps on Giving P. J. O’Rourke December 19, 2014

He ticked off folks on both sides of the aisle, which tells me he must have been doing something right.
A Kinder, Gentler Arlen Specter, Inspiration to Cancer Sufferers Jamie Reno October 14, 2012

Tens of millions of dollars are being spent on attack ads and buys on both sides of the aisle.
Colin Powell Sings, Mitt Romney’s Horse, and More Viral Videos The Daily Beast Video June 15, 2012

Historical Examples

“I shall keep my cloak on while we go down the aisle,” she declared.
The Precipice Elia Wilkinson Peattie

At this the young men, who now filled the aisle, raised a mighty booing.
The Burning Spear John Galsworthy

Miss Comstock hurried down the aisle, shaking the girls into consciousness.
Jane Stewardess of the Air Lines Ruthe S. Wheeler

He took two steps down the aisle, and caught the little figure in his arms.
Stories of a Western Town Octave Thanet

In desperation I raised her and hung her over my shoulder, rising at the same time and walking up and down the aisle.
The Blunders of a Bashful Man Metta Victoria Fuller Victor

noun
a passageway separating seating areas in a theatre, church, etc; gangway
a lateral division in a church flanking the nave or chancel
(informal) rolling in the aisles, (of an audience) overcome with laughter
n.

late 14c., ele, “lateral division of a church (usually separated by a row of pillars), from Old French ele “wing (of a bird or an army), side of a ship” (12c., Modern French aile), from Latin ala, related to axilla “wing, upper arm, armpit; wing of an army,” from PIE *aks- “axis” (see axis), via a suffixed form *aks-la-. The root meaning in “turning” connects it with axle and axis.

Confused 15c. with unrelated ile “island” (perhaps from notion of a “detached” part of a church), and so it took an -s- when isle did, c.1700; by 1750 it had acquired an a-, on the model of French cognate aile. The word also was confused with alley, which gave it the sense of “passage between rows of pews or seats” (1731), which was thence extended to railway cars, theaters, etc.

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