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aisle

[ahyl] /aɪl/
noun
1.
a walkway between or along sections of seats in a theater, classroom, or the like.
2.
Architecture.
  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.
Idioms
3.
in the aisles, (of an audience) convulsed with laughter.
Origin
1350-1400
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for in aisles

aisle

/aɪl/
noun
1.
a passageway separating seating areas in a theatre, church, etc; gangway
2.
a lateral division in a church flanking the nave or chancel
3.
(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
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Word Origin and History for in aisles

aisle

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for in aisles

aisle

portion of a church or basilica that parallels or encircles the major sections of the structure, such as the nave, choir, or apse (aisles around the apse are usually called ambulatories). The aisle is often set off by columns or by an arcade.

Learn more about aisle with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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