9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ahyl] /aɪl/
a walkway between or along sections of seats in a theater, classroom, or the like.
  1. a longitudinal division of an interior area, as in a church, separated from the main area by an arcade or the like.
  2. any of the longitudinal divisions of a church or the like.
in the aisles, (of an audience) convulsed with laughter.
Origin of aisle
1350-1400; alteration (with ai < French aile wing) of earlier isle (with s from isle), ile; replacing Middle English ele < Middle French < Latin āla wing, cognate with axle. See ala
Related forms
aisled, adjective
unaisled, adjective
Can be confused
aisle, I'll, isle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for aisles
  • Its golden rays straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall.
  • In that nave and in the adjoining aisles knelt or stood the rapt throng of worshipers.
  • She remembers wandering down the aisles memorizing the names of obscure tinned meats.
  • But during the outage, the mall's aisles were dim as the shops relied on generator power.
  • Its golden rays straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall.
  • One store camera captures his face, while another network of cameras traces his stroll through the aisles.
  • Shooting hoops after work, then navigating supermarket aisles grabbing stuff for dinner.
  • Hundreds of teens line the aisles, exchanging high-fives.
  • Its golden rays straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall.
  • No one wants to do an intermission there, so they may slightly raise the lights and sell drinks and things in the aisles.
British Dictionary definitions for aisles


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
Derived Forms
aisled, adjective
aisleless, adjective
Word Origin
C14 ele (later aile, aisle, through confusion with isle (island)), via Old French from Latin āla wing
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
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Word Origin and History for aisles



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for aisles


Related Terms

lay them in the aisles

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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