Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Clipping of neighborhood; compare hood. In attributive use, 1922;[1] in noun sense “neighborhood”, 1942;[2] in noun sense “neighborhood theater”, 1933 New York City.[2]



nabe (not comparable)

  1. neighborhood
    • 1922, Denver Post 2 Dec. 10/8 (head & text):[1]
      Cagers Will Attend ‘Nabe’ Gym Smoker.
      Practically every basketball player in the city has promised to attend the benefit smoker at the Neighborhood House gym, Tenth and Galapago, Monday night.
    • 1938, Tommy Dorsey and George D. Lottman, “Love in Swingtime“ (syndicated serial) The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) 9 Aug. 12/2 and 12/3:
      “Biggest flopperoo of year, so far,” wrote Green [sc. Abel Green of Variety] “was the highly touted preeming of Biff Brown’s band at the Ritz, nabe dancery near Bridgeport.” …
      Glossary of Swing Words in this Chapter. … Nabe dancery: Neighborhood ballroom.


nabe (plural nabes)

  1. neighborhood
  2. (frequently plural) neighborhood theater, neighborhood cinema
    • 1970, New Yorker:[2]
      They picked an aging star, slapped together a moldy script, and sent the result out to the nabes.

Usage notes[edit]

In “neighborhood theater” sense, frequently “the nabes”, particularly used by Variety (NYC theater magazine), but also more widely.

In “neighborhood” sense, particularly New York City, but used throughout the US. Popular industry term, notably in Billboard (NYC music industry) in 1940s–1960s,[3] but in 1970s and 1980s primarily confined to Brooklyn, NYC.[3] Increased in popularity and became widespread from the 1990s, presumably as a less marked alternative to hood (neighborhood, particularly poor black).[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 nabe (attrib.) 'neighborhood': 1922, 1938”, Ben Zimmer, American Dialect Society, 21 Aug 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nabe or Hood? A Brief History of Shortening ‘Neighborhood’”, Henry Grabar, The Atlantic: CityLab, Aug 27, 2012
  • Nabe (a neighborhood)”, Barry Popik, The Big Apple, August 21, 2012
  • nabe” in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Online




  1. rōmaji reading of なべ