hallway (1860) & hall (=hallway)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Apr 17 15:23:10 UTC 2004

>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_.

The on-line "Century Dictionary" (1889, I think) shows under "hall" <<2. An
entranceway or passageway in a house leading to or communicating with its
different parts.>> (p. 2691).

At MoA (Cornell) I find one instance of "along the hall" from 1838 which
might fit "hall" = "corridor", but without knowing the layout of the house
involved it's hard to tell for sure; maybe if one read the whole piece it
would be obvious, maybe not.

-- Doug Wilson

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