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A ginnel in Barrowford, Lancashire.

Alternative forms[edit]


From ginn (a road or passage down to the sea) +‎ -el (diminutive suffix), ultimately from Old English ginn (a side expanse, an opening, abyss).



ginnel (plural ginnels)

  1. (England, especially Yorkshire, Lancashire, Manchester) A narrow passageway or alley often between terraced houses.
    • 1885, Brierley, Benjamin, Ab-o'th'-Yate in Yankeeland[1], page 59:
      [] maks things as pleasant as stondin in a ginnel ov a wyndy neet waitin o'th' sweetheart comin out.
    • 1988, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming-Pool Library, paperback edition, London: Penguin, →OCLC, page 169:
      At the end of a short side-street a narrow ginnel with concrete bollards led into the surprisingly wide area in which the blocks of flats stood.
    • 2014 September 7, Davis, Aaron (lyrics), “Spitfire”, JDZ Media, performed by Davis, Aaron [as Bugzy Malone]:
      Pssht, get over here, whoopie / Finish him like Sub-Zero / Out the window, into the garden / Over the fence and straight through the ginnel