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Free the Word: Ginnel

28 September 2017

Ginnel by Vidyan Ravinthiran

BBC Radio Leeds

Ginnel by Vidyan Ravinthiran

Def: A narrow lane; an alley. Suggested by listeners to Radio Leeds.

'The Leeds side streets that you slip down', sang Morrissey. Trinco’s mafting. 'This is the corridor,' says my mother, unsure of the English word, 'your uncle ran this way to escape the gunfire.'

def | an alleyway.

There were a number of alleyway suggestions when we asked the public to suggest their local words, including scutchel, jitty, ginnel, and twitten. These last two were chosen for the Leeds and Sussex poets respectively... Ginnel is now found throughout the Midlands and north of England and especially in Greater Manchester and parts of Yorkshire, where such alleyways are an intrinsic part of the urban environment, finding their way into poems by Simon Armitage, Ted Hughes, and Sean O’Brien among others.

Read more on the OED Blog

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