Posted by: episystechpubs | November 16, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Skid Road

Good morning, folks.

I read an article this weekend on the Daily Writing Tips website. A subscriber asked this question: “Is it ‘skid row’ or ‘skid road,’ and what’s the proper usage?”

I smugly thought to myself, “It’s ‘skid row,’ of course!”

Well it is, but that’s not the whole story. It turns out the person asking the question was on to something, and I got schooled!

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The expression “skid row” is the common term in modern usage, but it’s thought to derive from an earlier term associated with the logging industry.

In Washington State and other centers of the lumber industry, loggers built roads out of logs and then skidded newly cut logs down these “skid roads.” As time went on, saloons and brothels sprang up along the skid roads and the term took on the meaning, “a district abounding in vicious characters and the practice of vice.”

When the expression migrated to urban environments, road became row, perhaps in imitation of established streets with names like Park Row and Tryon Row.

So, the phrase did start off as “skid road.” I love learning about the etymology of English phrases and idioms.

I hope your Monday is a good one.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

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