some were flush


Senior Member
Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

Toledo Avenue was unusual in that the houses did not all meet the sidewalk from the same distance. Some were far back, some were flush, some had been built long before anyone thought of sidewalks.

Is it this meaning of flush

flush | Definition of flush in English by Oxford Dictionaries
1 Completely level or even with another surface.
‘the gates are flush with the adjoining fencing’

And does the phrase imply some were flush with the street, i.e. the houses stood exactly on the lateral side of the street?

Thank you.
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It is not clear whether it means the houses were "flush with the sidewalk" (coming right up against it), or "flush with each other" (i.e. they were all equidistant from the sidewalk). The latter seems more likely.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It means that those particular houses were flush with "the street" in the general sense of being quite close to "the street". What's really not said is exactly how close. No house opens directly into a street that I've ever seen, there is always some buffer. But was it the width of a sidewalk? Less in some cases? Did the houses have no front yards or just very tiny ones? Was it five feet to the street, or ten feet or twenty? It's hard to say.

    But it's a contrast to the other ones that could have been back 40 or 60 or 80 feet, with very large front yards.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I looked at Google Street View of that street and there's nothing unusual-looking about it in 2019.

    All the houses look about the same distance from the street, averaging about 20 to 40 feet, which is normal for many places. They all have front yards and sidewalks. It's possible many houses have been rebuilt since then to standardize things.
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