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See also: hútòng and hùtōng



Hutong in Beijing, China.

Borrowed from Mandarin 衚衕, 胡同 (hútòng, narrow street), probably:



hutong (plural hutongs or hutong)

  1. A narrow alley or street in a traditional residential district of a city in China, especially Beijing. [from 19th c.]
    • 1866 April 23, W[illiam] Lockhart, “VIII.—Notes on Peking and Its Neighbourhood”, in W[illiam] S[weetland] Dallas, editor, The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, volume XXXVI, London: John Murray; [], ISSN 0370-291X, OCLC 1166921914, page 137:
      These great streets are crossed by many broad streets, and these again by an infinite number of narrow streets, called Hutungs, or lanes.
    • 1881, Samuel Pasfield Oliver, chapter III, in On and Off Duty, being Leaves from an Officer’s Note-book, London: W[illiam] H[oughton] Allen & Co., [], OCLC 5421238, page 59:
      In the afternoon a party of us strolled out to the Chinese city [Peking], through the Great Meridian Gate, to examine the curiosity shops. The narrow streets or hutungs in this quarter reminded me of Canton.
    • 1891 January, “Letters from the Front. China. Medicine in Missions.”, in Woman’s Work for Woman. A Union Illustrated Magazine, volume VI, number 1, New York, N.Y.: Woman’s Foreign Missionary Societies of the Presbyterian Church, [], OCLC 39805887, page 18, column 2:
      We opened two dispensaries [in Peking] in November last; one at An Ting, where we lived and which was open every day, Sabbath excepted; and one in the other compound at Ya'rh Hutung, which was open about three days in the week.
      Used in a street name.
    • 1924, “Tientsin”, in Decennial Reports on the Trade, Industries, etc., of the Ports Open to Foreign Commerce, and on the Condition and Development of the Treaty Port Provinces. 1912–21 (China, The Maritime Customs, I (Statistical Series); no. 6), volume I (Northern and Yangtze Ports), 4th issue, Shanghai: Statistical Department of the Inspectorate General of Customs, OCLC 72950803, section 22 (The Revolution and the Fall of the Manchus), page 170:
      Banks, pawn-shops, and large stores were pillaged and burned, the buildings on either side of the Ta Hutung being almost completely destroyed by fire.
      Used in a street name.
    • 1999, Wu Liangyong, “Traditional Courtyard Houses and a New Prototype”, in Rehabilitating the Old City of Beijing: A Project in the Ju’er Hutong Neighbourhood (Urbanization in Asia; 3), Vancouver, B.C.: UBC Press, →ISBN, ISSN 1196-8583, page 74:
      The fish-bone-like transportation network is also present, especially in large neighbourhoods, where a series of major hutong (usually running east-west) are either joined by smaller transverse hutong or lead to even smaller dead-end hutong that occasionally run between housing plots.
    • 2006, Colin Thubron, “The Capital”, in Shadow of the Silk Road, London: Chatto & Windus, →ISBN, page 11:
      'I spent my childhood in those old hutong courtyards. Relationships were warmer then.' His mouth puckered, as if hunting a lost taste.
    • 2007 October 16, Brice J. Bay, “Thanks, but I’ll have the bat on a stick instead”, in The New York Times[1], New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, ISSN 0362-4331, OCLC 971436363, archived from the original on 3 November 2015:
      In Beijing, near the Forbidden City, a winding maze of hutongs, or narrow alleyways, is home to one of the world’s most exotic markets.
    • 2009 January 19, Andrew Jacobs, “Finding treasures in a city’s disappearing past”, in The New York Times[2], New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, ISSN 0362-4331, OCLC 971436363, archived from the original on 25 January 2021:
      Today, just 1,300 hutong remain, and many more neighborhoods, like the colorful Qianmen district just south of Tiananmen Square, are scheduled for renewal.
    • 2016, Madeleine O’Dea, “Beijing 1986”, in The Phoenix Years: Art, Resistance and the Making of Modern China, Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, →ISBN:
      He led me along a dog-legging route through the fifteenth-century alleyways that were the lacework holding old Beijing together. Hutongs, as they were called, defined China's old capital, their grey stone walls pierced at intervals by weathered wooden doors that opened onto four-sided courtyard houses.

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