General English


  • adjective ‘streetwise’ or having ‘street credibility’. A term of approbation originating in black argot of the 1970s.


  • abbreviationSt

Origin & History of “street”

Etymologically, a street is a road that has been ‘spread’ – with paving stones, that is. A ‘paved’ road, in other words. The term was borrowed into prehistoric west Germanic from Latin strāta, short for via strāta ‘paved road’. Strāta was the feminine form of strātus, the past participle of sternere ‘spread out’ (source of English strata, stratify, etc). The related Germanic forms are German strasse and Dutch straat, while the term is also preserved in the romance languages, in Italian strada, which was borrowed by Romanian as strada.