What’s the Definition of the Bowery

Posted on: November 12th, 2010 at 6:17 am by

It’s interesting to note how the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the Bowery.  While an accurate description once upon a time, one Tweep in particular is none-too-happy with it. She says, “Merriam-Webster, y u hatin?”

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This prompted us to seek out some of the other supplemental online resources to see their definitions of same.  Here are a few other entries we dug up:

  1. Free Dictionary: (Placename) a street in New York City noted for its cheap hotels and bars, frequented by vagrants and drunks [from Dutch bouwerij, from bouwen to farm + erij -ery; see boor, Boer]
  2. Dictionary.com: the Bowery, a street and area in new york City, historically noted for its cheap hotels and saloons and peopled by the destitute and homeless.
  3. Urban Dictionary: to shout “bowery” at someone is wanting a fight with them. A person having something against someone else or wanting an argument or a fight. A sort of “bring it on” kind of phrase.

While we love Urban Dictionary’s take on the Bowery, other dictionary folk might want to consider revising their entries for our beloved boulevard. After all, times change, meanings change, and we are now faced with the Bowery 2.0 reality. Our suggestion? Iconic thoroughfare in downtown Manhattan once known as skid row, but since fallen prey to powerful forces of gentrification. Here and now, flophouses to fashionistas.

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