Definition of lane in English:



  • 1A narrow road, especially in a rural area.

    ‘she drove along the winding lane’
    • ‘Along the rural lanes beyond Arambol, old farmhouses are enclosed in latticed palm shade.’
    • ‘They are scattered along narrow, winding village lanes.’
    • ‘We may never allow our children to return to the freedom they previously enjoyed in the towns and cities, the rural lanes and quiet roads of our country.’
    • ‘At the T-junction of roads, turn right and, almost immediately, where the road swings right, go on ahead along a narrow lane, which is at present lined with summer flowers.’
    • ‘The limits and potentials that Magic holds for any one person is unique to that person, just as it is for a particular blade of grass or a given pebble along a rural lane.’
    • ‘It was a very dark night, and a thin rain began to fall as we turned from the high road into a narrow lane, deeply rutted, with hedges on either side.’
    • ‘As she drove along the narrow, winding country lanes she and an oncoming coach, carrying teenagers to school in Harrogate, slowed so both vehicles could safely pass.’
    • ‘The county has 6,000 miles of roads, ranging from winding country lanes to roaring motorways.’
    • ‘The demonstrators were objecting to plans to expand Ridgway Park School, off Gibraltar Road, on grounds that it will increase traffic problems in the area's narrow lanes.’
    • ‘Something to consider, perhaps, for the rural lanes of South Lakeland through the winter.’
    • ‘He shot through the gap and continued along the narrow lane that would eventually reach a main road.’
    • ‘This walk through the lanes of rural Lancashire is a spiritual pilgrimage to the Lancashire Martyr, Saint Edmund Arrowsmith.’
    • ‘Bundles of goods containing inflammable material can be seen lying on foot paths blocking already narrow lanes.’
    • ‘Today's Bangalore is a bustling city, still retaining its wide well planned avenues in the main areas, and twisting lanes in a rural atmosphere in the somewhat poorer areas.’
    • ‘Sitting in front of the computer screen you get a driver's eye view as you travel along narrow streets, busy roads and winding country lanes in various weather conditions.’
    • ‘It is not quite an electronic spy in the sky but the information superhighway is being engaged to keep farms down remote rural lanes safer from thieves.’
    • ‘He added that firemen often found it difficult to reach the sites, which were densely populated with little access to the areas because the small lanes were too narrow for the fire engines to enter.’
    • ‘We traveled to the outskirts of Osaka and we proceeded to walk through a traditional residential area with narrow lanes until we arrived at an old house.’
    • ‘Then the group set off up the narrow winding lane to the main road and the lay-by.’
    • ‘The 1910 land plan was designed to complement the steep, rolling topography, reminiscent of narrow country lanes in rural England.’
    byroad, byway, bridleway, bridle path, path, pathway, footpath, way, towpath, trail, track, road, street, alley, alleyway, roadway, passage, thoroughfare
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[in place names]An urban street.
      ‘Park Lane’
      • ‘Ashe Street and Court House lane will be bustling with activity during Easter weekend.’
      • ‘It was proposed to link the development to the centre of the town by connecting with Claregate Street through Pidgeon lane.’
      • ‘The site, near Low Street and Common lane, was endorsed for housing in May by the Local Plan public inquiry inspector - despite green belt objections from residents.’
      road, thoroughfare, way
      View synonyms
  • 2A division of a road marked off with painted lines and intended to separate single lines of traffic according to speed or direction.

    ‘the car moved into the outside lane’
    ‘a bus lane’
    • ‘A section of the street was reduced to a single lane for traffic purposes for the remainder of the day with members of the general public kept well away from the accident scene.’
    • ‘Tonight the outside lane of the dual carriageway will shut in both directions between Rayleigh Weir and Kent Elms corner to fix a water main which burst two weeks ago.’
    • ‘Using sensors, it monitors the painted lines that separate lanes, and is triggered, at 50 mph or more, when a lane deviation is detected without the indicator being used.’
    • ‘The van came to a standstill on the central reservation causing an obstruction to traffic in the outside lanes on both sides of the A12.’
    • ‘The outside lane in each direction will be closed during the work, after the evening rush-hour each day.’
    • ‘City of York Council officers will find out at a meeting with the Highways Agency whether two lanes of traffic can be kept flowing in one direction.’
    • ‘Until then, the contraflow system on the westbound carriageway allowing a single lane of traffic in each direction will continue.’
    • ‘At that point, the road is a single carriageway with one lane in either direction, the lanes being divided by double central white lines.’
    • ‘The third experiment represents walkways where opposing traffic mingles and directional lanes are not set up.’
    • ‘The lane is intended to speed up travelling times for vehicles carrying the bulk of commuters.’
    • ‘Only the concrete dividers separating the opposing lanes of traffic broke the utter flatness.’
    • ‘It's a single lane for you, a single lane for oncoming traffic, and in the middle they've painted an obviously desperate double red line.’
    • ‘On six-lane roads with three lanes for each direction of traffic, the left lane is meant for normal driving and for vehicles turning left.’
    • ‘Bikes have their own lanes, traffic lights at junctions and dedicated road signs.’
    • ‘Earlier, a policeman told how he spotted a vehicle travelling at speed in the outside lane of the motorway on March 1 last year at 10.15 am.’
    • ‘People caught using bus lanes and slip lanes to pass waiting traffic should in my opinion face more than just a fine they should have points off their license’
    • ‘The eastbound carriageway will close from Monday until December 20, with traffic running in single lanes in each direction on the westbound side.’
    • ‘What stands out about the bridge is the fact that it has no central median separating the opposite lanes of traffic.’
    • ‘She crossed the center line and traveled to the outside lane of opposing traffic.’
    • ‘Rush-hour traffic built up today as the outside lane in both directions was closed for repairs to the crash barrier.’
    track, strip, way, course, channel, road division
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Each of a number of parallel strips of track or water for runners, rowers, or swimmers in a race.
      ‘she went into the final in lane three’
      • ‘Neither of us are particularly good to start with, and most of the pool had been commandeered by the local hippos to do some kind of water aerobics, leaving just two crowded lanes for the swimmers.’
      • ‘It will be an Aussie and American showdown with the fastest two from USA and the next fastest two from Australia the boys will be looking to qualify for tomorrow night's final in good lanes.’
      • ‘Devonish, out in lane six, ran his own race despite pressure from the inside lanes and accelerated away to his first major track title.’
      • ‘A field of five boats meant today's event was a race for lanes in tomorrow's final.’
      • ‘I like to mix up the lanes and have swimmers race a bit in practice.’
      • ‘It was only because there so were many lapped runners and Radcliffe was forced to run most of the race in the second lane that she did not become the first non-Chinese runner to break 30 minutes.’
      • ‘But because the indoor track in Leipzig has only four lanes, the final is run as two separate contests.’
      • ‘Immediately, the dark gray track was ahead of her, a thin white line separating the lanes.’
      • ‘Breast Stroke swimmers should avoid using lanes allocated for fast swimming.’
      • ‘Put swimmers in lanes and behind the backstroke flags.’
      • ‘But a stunning swim saw him book a central lane for the final, edging out Phelps in his heat to qualify fastest.’
      • ‘As she grew, she loved swimming competition and the challenge of going faster than the swimmer in the lane next to her.’
      • ‘You can never control what the person in the next lane does in a race.’
      • ‘The other pool was a plain old rectangle with some swimming lanes, diving boards and water nets.’
      • ‘The swimming pool and running tracks will have fewer lanes than the conventional eight, but that is the only pay-off.’
      • ‘When there are six or less boats entered in a class, the crews race for lanes on the day before finals.’
      • ‘If the swimmers in lanes two and four switch places by crossing the active swimming lane between them, time and space are once again out of sync.’
      • ‘There were no lanes, with one swimmer per lane, nor were courses accurately measured.’
      • ‘The three crews that lined up for the men's coxed pair had met each other for the first time yesterday in the race for lanes and it was Germany that secured the centre lane.’
      • ‘Using the previously suggest lane configurations will allow you to gain psychological assistance, from the swimmers in the adjacent lanes.’
      track, strip, way, course, channel, road division
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2A route prescribed for or regularly followed by ships or aircraft.
      ‘the shipping lanes of the South Atlantic’
      • ‘There was also fear that terrorists might take over a large ship, perhaps even an oil tanker, in the crowded English Channel shipping lanes, and cause a lot of damage.’
      • ‘Plans to move the wreck of destroyer HMS Wakeful out of a shipping lane have been amended to allow the ship to safely remain where she sank during the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.’
      • ‘The city's outer harbor, English Bay, isn't a place for pleasure boats to hang out: the main shipping lanes run straight down the middle of it.’
      • ‘Commercial shipping lanes around major ports are as noisy as the tarmac at Kennedy Airport.’
      • ‘It is also geographically near the primary shipping lanes for oil tankers that ply the route between Japan and the Middle East.’
      • ‘One anachronism is the inclusion of twin diesel engines, for manoeuvring in harbours and avoiding conflicts in busy shipping lanes.’
      • ‘Whales may be ‘harassed’ by noise from large commercial vessels, especially in shipping lanes or near busy ports.’
      • ‘Carlock had been drifting for more than five hours and could have been pulled by currents into the busy shipping lanes to Long Beach Harbor.’
      • ‘Sailors have been killed off Sumatra and attacks on shipping is on the rise in the Malacca and Singapore Straits - two of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the paper said.’
      • ‘On average the Torres Strait shipping lanes are checked annually, particularly where sand waves are known to be present.’
      • ‘Miraculously at midnight in the pitch dark a tugboat crew that had heard the broadcast found Hunter adrift in the shipping lanes and picked him up unhurt.’
      • ‘Fishing nets, which would cause disturbances, have not been cleared out of the shipping lane between the port and Xiamen.’
      • ‘With the entry of the French into the war, Britain had to look to the security of their long shipping lanes and the protection of her other possessions throughout the world.’
      • ‘This will make the South China Sea into its inland lake with power to regulate and control all shipping lanes, maritime trade and naval movements.’
      • ‘San Pedro Bay, the terminus for two major coastwise shipping lanes, is full of commercial and military traffic day and night.’
      • ‘Half the world's ocean-going cargo follows shipping lanes past the islands, and rich deposits of oil and natural gas are thought to lie beneath the nearby sea.’
      • ‘During her six month-long absence, the warship spent more than four months protecting Iraq's primary oil terminal and shipping lanes.’
      • ‘Britain's treacherous tides and crowded shipping lanes make rowing round Britain harder than crossing the Atlantic, according to the Ocean Rowing Society.’
      • ‘Operation Open Spirit took the Force to the bay of Riga, where shipping lanes were cleared of explosives left from the two world wars and the Cold War era.’
      • ‘They had been in the water for more than four hours, struggling to stay afloat with just one life vest between them, and had not been seen despite drifting into one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.’
    3. 2.3(in tenpin bowling) a long, narrow strip of floor down which the ball is bowled.
      ‘a maximum of six people can play on a lane at any one time’
      • ‘I am having problems picking out the right type of bowling ball for heavily oiled lanes.’
      • ‘You might think that bowling is as simple as a lane, a ball, and an approach, right?’
      • ‘If any change was made to the lanes, your ball will know it right away.’
      • ‘They come in handy when you need to cream some extra traction between your bowling ball and the lane.’
      • ‘In the last issue, we reviewed the terms and definitions for bowling balls, lanes, and lane play.’
    4. 2.4Biochemistry Each of a number of notional parallel strips in the gel of an electrophoresis plate, occupied by a single sample.
      ‘DNA from various sources is placed in separate lanes on an electrophoretic gel’
      • ‘The numbers above the lanes refer to sampling day (days after defoliation).’
      • ‘For gel blot analysis, 2 g of poly + RNA were applied to each lane and separated by electrophoresis.’
      • ‘Possession of the marker is indicated by two ‘bands’ in the electrophoresis lane derived from each well, while one band indicates lack of the marker.’
      • ‘Parental DNAs cut with the same enzyme were electrophoresed in adjacent lanes to facilitate comparison of RFLP profiles.’
      • ‘For gel blot analysis, 10 g of total RNA was applied to each lane and separated by electrophoresis.’
    5. 2.5Astronomy A dark streak or band which shows up against a bright background, especially in a spiral galaxy.
      ‘the innermost dust lane is dense enough to absorb some infrared’
      • ‘Spitzer adds new detail to the galaxy's bright, bulbous core and its thick, outer dust lanes.’
      • ‘It is divided into two half-circle formed segments by a dark lane of interstellar dust in front of it.’
      • ‘Older stars and dense dust lanes near the heart of the galaxy are red.’
      • ‘The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy.’


  • it's a long lane that has no turning

    • proverb Nothing goes on forever; change is inevitable.


Old English, related to Dutch laan; of unknown ultimate origin.