"down train"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Jan 13 21:46:27 UTC 2013

At 1/13/2013 04:30 PM, Spanbock/Svoboda-Spanbock wrote:
>Is this related to High Street?

My guess is no, that "high street" means simply "the main
street".  The OED defines it as " ... A highway, a main road, whether
in country or town; now, very generally, the proper name (High
Street) of that street of a town which is built upon a *great
highway*, and is (or was originally) the *principal one* in the
town."  (Emphasis added)

What I see in the OED is that the "down" or central part of town was
"lower" and the outer areas "higher".  Its definition of "downtown,
A. adv." is "Into the town (from a more elevated suburb); down in the
town."  Why that should be the association for a word that seems to
have entered the language as late as the 1830s is a mystery to
me.  Perhaps because in Olde England towns were first sited at places
with access to water transportation-- oceanside or river -- and thus
would commonly be lower than the surrounding territory.


>On Jan 13, 2013, at 12:33 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > C1.  Which way is "down" in England?
> >
> > Answer:  Away from the center (of population, business,
> > transportation, learning, etc.)
> >
> > C2:  Which way is "downtown"?
> >
> > Answer:  Toward (or at) the central part of the city.  See OED, "downtown".
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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