hallway (1860) & hall (=hallway)

Barnhart barnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Sat Apr 17 12:15:17 UTC 2004

Dear All,

Day before yesterday, a teacher passing me in the hall said that one of
his study-hall students asked him "why, if this is a study hall, are we
not sitting in the hall?"

The simple answer which I offered is that _hall_ has a couple of meanings
(see OED, of course).  The senses there are for a large covered place,
from which derive _dining hall, lecture hall, town hall, music hall_,
etc., are all covered in OED/OEDs/OEDas.  The sense of a corridor I have
not found in dictionaries before the 1917 WU.  I have found a quote for
_hall_ (in this sense) in Making of America from 1875.  There are a whole
mess of returns (122,977 in UMich site alone) to be processed.  It could
take years to assess them all.  [One hundred per day would take over a

The other word in this thread (the synonym for corridor and hall in that
sense) is _hallway_ (W11=1876).  I have been able to push the date back a
bit to 1860.  Later today, I will drop in where I can gain access to more
than Making of America for both _hall_ and _hallway_.

Any antedatings would be appreciated.

Regards from the dictionary pit,

barnhart at highlands.com

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