Definition of aisle in English:



  • 1A passage between rows of seats in a building such as a church or theatre, an aircraft, or train.

    ‘the musical had the audience dancing in the aisles’
    • ‘The new bus has more seating, wider aisles and longer seat belts.’
    • ‘I can only fly five hours maximum in aircraft with a decent seat pitch and only in an aisle seat, so I can move about.’
    • ‘Around 600 mourners filled the seats and aisles of St Andrew's to watch Mr Lewis's coffin carried in by some of his friends.’
    • ‘Everything takes much longer, as too many people are boarding at any one time and blocking the aisles near the prime seats.’
    • ‘At a humanist ceremony at York Crematorium, conducted by Maggie Blunt, mourners sat and kneeled in the aisles because every seat was taken.’
    • ‘There's always that moment when, because there are four of us, three are allotted a row of seats and one has the seat across the aisle.’
    • ‘Even with extra seats placed in the aisles, occupancy was far more than 100 per cent at both the concerts we attended.’
    • ‘The bus was headed from the Western Wall to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood on the city's outskirts, and families with children were packed in the seats and aisles.’
    • ‘I've seen with my own eyes people take up four seats, the entire aisle and the toilet cubile by strategic placement of a few cases.’
    • ‘Seated across the aisle from him were three girls Yutaka recognized from school.’
    • ‘At which point, I wondered, would it be ok to get up and move to the empty, inviting seats across the aisle?’
    • ‘As he walked off-stage, he cast a glance of recognition towards those seated in the second aisle.’
    • ‘Tickets for unreserved seats in the side aisles are being bought, such is the demand to see this concert.’
    • ‘Rather than have them walk down the aisle of a moving train, why not try getting up and offering your seat?’
    • ‘Turtle chose his seat on the train across the aisle from Tim in the row behind Megan and Jeff.’
    • ‘With three separate aisles, and seats that reclined to almost vertical it was the most comfortable bus I have ever ridden.’
    • ‘I chose a seat on the aisle near the back and settled in to enjoy the program of traditional Christmas music.’
    • ‘Thirty unarmed INS agents accompanied the flight, guarding the handcuffed deportees in shifts, standing in aircraft's aisles at every fifth row.’
    • ‘Then my eyes fell on those three women, sitting on alternate seats across the aisle from each other.’
    • ‘She had a stroke last year and moves slowly as the aisles of the train are not wide enough for her walker.’
    passage, passageway, corridor, gangway, walkway, path, lane, alley
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    1. 1.1A passage between cabinets and shelves of goods in a supermarket or other building.
      ‘I spend much of my time at the shops, wandering through the aisles’
      • ‘While walking down the aisles - supermarket aisles that is - the Archbishop of York got more than he bargained for.’
      • ‘This company is also known for its butter, which is richer than its domestic counterparts in U.S. supermarket dairy aisles.’
      • ‘Once she got there, she paced the aisle, scanning the shelves for a home pregnancy test.’
      • ‘The more choice we have, the less likely we are to enjoy the shared experience - unless it's wandering around the supermarket aisles in a mass daze, wondering what to buy.’
      • ‘Go to the bread aisle in your supermarket, and count just how many different products we have.’
      • ‘You wander through the aisles of any supermarket and everything is the same.’
      • ‘The old storage barn, however, was the one that really delighted us, for most of the tools were still there, piled high on shelves and crammed into the aisles between shelves.’
      • ‘Cruising the aisles of the Jewel supermarket in Barrington, Ill., she knows exactly what she wants and how much she's willing to pay for it.’
      • ‘Recognizing that people these days are used to picking their produce sparkling clean from supermarket aisles, Chuck and Rosie go the extra mile in presentation.’
      • ‘Women have several supermarket aisles of stuff.’
      • ‘Supermarkets will color code aisles according to genetic type so that DNA-savvy consumers can easily identify the right foods and supplements for themselves.’
      • ‘He wandered down the long aisle between the shelves that towered far too high to reach, stuffed with books.’
      • ‘And while it seems at home in supermarket produce aisles, it will be relegated to the household aisle of drug chains, where it initially underperformed in test.’
      • ‘But I can still remember back to when I could dangle my legs out of the shopping cart seat and watch the aisles go by.’
      • ‘There were four aisles' worth of shelves, and to dust them required Adam to take the merchandise off, dust and then replace the items in the exact order with which they were removed.’
      • ‘He has seen film of a man walking down a supermarket aisle, and all the tins flying off the shelves as they pass.’
      • ‘Soy burgers can be found in the frozen-foods aisle of any supermarket.’
      • ‘I felt so grown-up strolling the long aisles of towering wooden shelves, stopping to consider each interesting item - and its price.’
      • ‘It's a mixed blessing, where the payment for an empty car-park and deserted supermarket aisles is a fair number of empty shelves which have yet to be stocked.’
      • ‘‘You're not funny,’ I hissed, then, gathering a stack of books, headed for a shelf a couple of aisles over.’
    2. 1.2Architecture (in a church) a lower part parallel to the nave, choir, or transept, from which it is divided by pillars.
      ‘the tiled roof over the south aisle’
      • ‘The service over, he strides down the pew aisle, wiping fingers across his brow.’
      • ‘There was also a nave with aisles and galleries and a particularly fine church organ.’
      • ‘In the early 14th century the two nave aisles were rebuilt and the tower arch reconstructed.’
      • ‘The aisles and nave of the church are connected by arches which are held up by 18 imposing stone pillars made from well chiselled limestone.’
      • ‘The route leads towards the double doors that lead to stairs which go up to the south aisle of the church.’
      • ‘White pillars towered above him, and marble guards lined the aisle, stone spears held at the ready.’
      • ‘Our church family enjoys having our choir standing in the aisles, blending in with the total congregation during congregational singing.’
      • ‘I'm an old abandoned church with broken pews and empty aisles.’
      • ‘Although St George's had to be wider than it was long, he managed to create a central, square nave flanked by galleried aisles, with an apse containing a magnificent tall reredos to the east.’
      • ‘Around the thirteenth-century north and south choir aisles, the spandrels of the blank arcading have many Green Beasts, including the one shown here.’
      • ‘In a gothic cathedral, the nave is flanked by aisles which run parallel to it.’
      • ‘She walked out into the main room and down the narrow aisle between the pews.’
      • ‘The new grant will be used for repairs to the south nave aisle roof, north nave masonry and leaded light windows.’
      • ‘Internally, the building is divided into a nave, transepts and side aisles composed of ornamental cast-iron columns and girders and a gallery 12 feet wide runs all round the Hall.’
      • ‘The nearest people were five or six rows in front of me, and the pews across the aisle were empty for almost a dozen rows.’
      • ‘Both share the wooden oriel projecting onto the choir, with a private entrance to the rear and a small door leading into the choir aisle.’
      • ‘A narrow chancel originally lay east of the nave and parts of its north wall can still be seen, pierced by the arcade between the nave and the north aisle.’
      • ‘Folding chairs were snapped open along the aisles and in the choir loft, filling every available surface in order to accommodate the throng who had come to honour Fred.’
      • ‘The church is later English; and consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with porch and tower.’
      • ‘The interior space was unified by creating level floors for the nave and aisles.’


Late Middle English ele, ile, from Old French ele, from Latin ala wing. The spelling change in the 17th century was due to confusion with isle and influenced by French aile wing.