Not in DARE

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 20 00:08:05 UTC 2005

On 11/19/05, Dennis R. Preston <preston at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at MSU.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Not in DARE
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson,
> If you had checked the AHD, you would have found "a narrow
> passageway" (not restricted to nautical use), a meaning I have found
> all over the US. Maybe your wife is from the suburbs or countryside
> and lacks knowledge of urban terminology.
> The space between the sidewalk and the street is another matter, with
> considerable variation (including "nothing").
> dInIs

> Dennis R. Preston
> University Distinguished Professor
> Department of English
> 15-C Morrill Hall
> Michigan State University
> East Lansing, MI 48824-1036
> Phone: (517) 353-4736
> Fax: (517) 353-3755
> preston at

There's a flowering shrub that grows on everyone's property in St, Louis. I
had no idea what this plant was called. One day, I asked a friend what the
plant's name was. He answered, "Rose of Sharon." When I told him that I'd
been seeing those plants around for at least fifteen years without any idea
as to what they were called, he replied, "Why didn't you just ask somebody?"
Perhaps, if I'd just thought to ask somebody, I'd know whether "tree lawns"
have a name in St. Louis. :-)

My wife has lived in NYC, Philadelphia, DC, and Ann Arbor. Perhaps, as was
the case with me and the rose of Sharon, she simply didn't ask what the
narrow space between two brick
houses is called. You never know.

And, of course, my apologies to the compilers of DARE.

-Wilson Gray

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