• adverb to one side, out of the way


  • In a play, a comment addressed to the audience rather thanto the other characters, who are supposed not to have heard it. Thedevice is popular in melodramas, comedies, and pantomimes; it is oftenaccompanied by an exaggerated gesture, such as a hand held over themouth. For example, John Wells's topical comedy Anyone for Denis?(1981) contains the following exchange between prime minister MargaretThatcher and a woman admiral:
    Admiral Oh, Leader, when all these bungling incompetentslet you down, remember there is a shoulder here for you to weep upon.We women must stick together!
    Maggie (aside) I'll bet she said the same toEdward Heath.

Origin & History of “aside”

Aside is a reduced form of the middle English phrase on syde, literally ‘on side’, meaning ‘to one side’.