asphalt jungle

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From W. R. Burnett's novel The Asphalt Jungle (1949).


asphalt jungle (plural asphalt jungles)

  1. (idiomatic) A city or urban area, where the landscape is covered by pavement and the environment is alienating and unsafe.
    • 1962, "Manhattan's Lower Depths (film review of Strangers in the City)," Time, 27 Jul.,
      The sound track tingles with cool jazz, the dry atonal music of the asphalt jungle.
    • 1976, A. Robert Lee, "Violence Real and Imagined: The World of Chester Himes' Novels," Negro American Literature Forum, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 13,
      Harlem comes through as an urban hothouse mean with exotic hustle and violence, a tangible asphalt jungle with its own abrasive laws of motion.


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