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Grub Street

a street in London, England: formerly inhabited by many impoverished minor writers and literary hacks; now called Milton Street.
petty and needy authors, or literary hacks, collectively.


[gruhb-street] /ˈgrʌbˌstrit/
produced by a hack; poor in quality:
a grubstreet book.
Grub Street (def 2).
Origin of grubstreet
1640-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Grub Street
Historical Examples
  • He was not unacquainted with some of the Grub Street scribblers.

    Madame Flirt Charles E. Pearce
  • Above these shops resided the Grub Street gentry of the period.

    The Book-Hunter in London William Roberts
  • For five of them he was a Grub Street hack, turning his hand to any literary job that offered.

    A Book of Prefaces H. L. Mencken
  • Since Dunkirk has been in our hands, Grub Street has been very fruitful.

    The Journal to Stella Jonathan Swift
  • The Grub Street Journal would afford materials for many curious and amusing extracts.

  • Pdfr has writ five or six Grub Street papers this last week.

    The Journal to Stella Jonathan Swift
  • "Grub Street style," therefore, means poor or worthless in literary value.

    Franklin's Autobiography Benjamin Franklin
  • But maybe you heard this already; for there was a Grub Street of it.

    The Journal to Stella Jonathan Swift
  • For him, as for Johnson, there was only one kind of life possible—the life of "Grub Street."

    The Story of Doctor Johnson S. C. (Sydney Castle) Roberts
  • They are not like Grub Street authors, who write for bread, and are paid by the sheet.

    Table-Talk William Hazlitt
British Dictionary definitions for Grub Street

Grub Street

a former street in London frequented by literary hacks and needy authors
the world or class of literary hacks, etc
(sometimes not capital) relating to or characteristic of hack literature
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 Grub Street


1620s, "originally the name of a street in Moorfields in London, much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems; whence any mean production is called grubstreet" [Johnson]. Name changed 1830 to Milton Street (after a local developer) then erased entirely 1970s by the Barbicon complex.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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