Red-light districts without brothels?

James Callan james.callan at COMCAST.NET
Tue Apr 11 20:12:16 UTC 2006

Seattle's currently hashing over new strip club laws, and residents of the neighborhood that borders the proposed new cabaret zone aren't too happy about it. Several activists have described it as a red-light district:

"An adult cabaret zone? That is a red-light district," said Robin Tomazic of the Georgetown Neighborhood Council. "A place where strip clubs can congregate in one area... that is a red-light district."

I've only heard red-light district referring to areas that are home to prostitution, not really tame strip clubs. Several dictionaries, including the OED online, back me up.

Is a non-bordello definition of red-light district particularly common? If so, when did the definition expand?

James Callan

The American Dialect Society -

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