Skid row vs skid road

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Skid row is the seedy, run-down area of a city or town where indigents, alcoholics and other undesirables are found. Skid row is an American term that became popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The idiom skid row is actually a corruption of the phrase skid road, which refers to the greased road along which loggers dragged timber to the mills. The first skid road is reputed to have been in Seattle, Washington. These skid roads would have been areas where men gathered to look for work. When the work disappeared in the 1930s, homeless men still gathered on these skid roads, the phrase eventually morphed into the idiom skid row, meaning the place in a town where out-of-work men gathered.


The officers did not violate the LAPD’s policy on using deadly force after Charly Leundeu Keunang, a 43-year-old man known as Africa along skid row, reached for a rookie patrolman’s holstered gun during a struggle March 1, according to the commission’s ruling. (The Los Angeles Times)

In 2013, StoryWorks was launched with a play based on a CIR story about homeless women veterans living on skid row in Los Angeles. (The Columbia Daily Tribune)

Skid Row, the infamous Los Angeles street block infested with crime, poverty and homelessness has for decades been a blight on the landscape of America’s sprawling west coast metropolis. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Examples include: the person who becomes inebriated at a sporting event; the person who drinks and drives; the person who drinks at home and becomes abusive; the person who drinks in public and becomes argumentative; the person who because of their intoxication has slipped into a “skid row” condition. (The Des Moines Register)