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 aisle
  • In earlier days, campers were built with center-rear doors and center aisles.
  • Several people wondered why I didn't have my brother walk me down the aisle.
  • It snaked along a main aisle and continued around the corner.
  • Stockley recalled, most of his first-year classes were so full he had to sit in the aisle.
  • They were given ideal seats, the window and aisle in a two-person row.
  • She prefers aisle seats because she can lean over the aisle for more room.
  • The scientists filed down the center aisle to pews reserved for them at the front of the church.
  • Something that, in the current healthcare debate, should appeal to everyone on both sides of the political aisle.
  • On the screen we see two white-coated technicians hustling a third technician up the aisle and out of the room.
  • After take off a cart, complete with cash register, rolled down the aisle.
British Dictionary definitions for aisle


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 aisle

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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