aisle usage

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rehaan

Senior Member
hindi
The word "aisle" means a passage between rows of seats. So then why this word is used in a library where books are kept on the shelves separated by some space between them. I mean there aren't any seats here.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Aisle' comes from the Latin for "wing", and originally referred to the side passages in a church, between the wall and a row of columns. There's no need for seats in an aisle. From this primary meaning, it has come to be used for various kinds of passage - in the centre of a church, in a theatre, in a library, in an aeroplane, etc.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The aisle was originally that part of a church (a "wing" on its side); today it can be an aisle in a supermarket, as in your picture, and doesn't have to have seats, walls, shelves, or columns. A passage (corridor) between two rooms is not an aisle, but any passageway inside a large 'room' (including an aeroplane cabin or a supermarket) can probably be called an aisle.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    It was originally used to mean a wing of a church usually bounded by columns. The presence of columns is in no way a literal feature of the word's meaning, and as far as I know the Latin word means wing of a building and has nothing to do with columns or rows.

    I would certainly call the space between supermarket shelves an aisle, and in fact I believe this to be the standard term.
     

    ColinForhan

    Senior Member
    English - American
    As entangledbank says, the picture you showed is definitely an aisle. If you're in an English-speaking grocery store, and you ask where the milk is, they will say "aisle 7."

    If you're talking about a passage in a room, it's an aisle. But if it's between rooms, it's an hallway or corridor. If it's between buildings it's an alley. If it's just a passageway all by itself it's a road, or a tunnel if it has a roof. But an aisle is kind of the smallest version of a road, in that it's inside a room, which is inside a building, which is inside a neighborhood, etc.

    Sorry for all the extra info :p
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Now that's clear - that space in the supermarket is called an aisle.

    Now comes the not-so-clear part on the usage of the term aisle: any particular aisle in a supermarket will often have two numbers - referring to the two sides that make up the aisle - the numbers refer to the sides (shelves of merchandise on that side) so what the store calls '"aisles" 5 and 6' might well face each other across the third "passage". Sometimes these might just be referred to as "sections 5 and 6" - possibly because the store was designed by someone who actually knew what the term aisle actually meant.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Nope - just lots of aisles. The spaces at right angles to the aisles are called "Bakery", "Deli", "Frozen foods" and "Produce". Oh, wait, there are checkout lanes - but no other technical terms were harmed :D
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    From this primary meaning, it has come to be used for various kinds of passage - in the centre of a church, ... .
    Just a little side note: there are those who would prefer to call the centre of a (Gothic-style) church the nave and reserve the aisle for either of the side passages.
     

    rehaan

    Senior Member
    hindi
    Once again got confused with the usage thanks to the introducation of the term "nave".
    Look at this:
    http://www.google.co.in/imgres?imgurl=http://image50.webshots.com/150/5/22/35/384752235FVBLUs_ph.jpg&imgrefurl=http://family.webshots.com/photo/1384752235053023166FVBLUs&usg=__5vTthO1pXJWXFRM6OOPj_ukMcmo=&h=480&w=640&sz=23&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=9mu3jIFkJaLkIM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=180&ei=hpZHTeetIsKqlAeK6821BA&prev=/images%3Fq%3Droom%2Baisle%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D1362%26bih%3D557%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=613&vpy=219&dur=13245&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=128&ty=121&oei=hpZHTeetIsKqlAeK6821BA&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:0


    If this can be called as an "aisle" then why not
    http://www.google.co.in/imgres?imgu...ihBA&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:17,s:0

    The nave what I have understood means the passage shown above (the second link) flanked by the aisles.But the problem is then if thats the case then How would you call the passage or the space shown in the first picture as an aisle.I mean what is the difference between nave and aisle if we are talking of library or supermarket....In the church sense I got it..Thanks for the replies..
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It's this simple, Rehaan: we use "aisle" when talking about supermarkets. "Nave" is really reserved for talking about churches. Most speakers don't have a large collection of words they use for particular architectural features, and "aisle" is the one you are most likely to hear from somebody who is talking about a path between bookshelves. "Row" is also commonly used in libraries.
     

    rehaan

    Senior Member
    hindi
    So nave usage is very much restricted to church but when it comes to aisle it can be extended unlike nave......?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    That's right, Rehaan. You will hear the word "aisle" much more often than you will hear the word "nave" unless you are talking to somebody with a passion for churches and their architecture.
     
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