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1. A squalid area of poverty and destitution, typically inhabited by those suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. When they hosted the Olympics, the city was criticized for rounding up the homeless and keeping them all contained on skid row.
2. A life marked by poverty and squalid circumstances. It's amazing that, after nearly five years on skid row, he's now one of the biggest names in show business.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A squalid district inhabited by derelicts and vagrants; also, a life of impoverished dissipation. For example, That part of town is our skid row, or His drinking was getting so bad we thought he was headed for skid row. This expression originated in the lumber industry, where it signified a road or track made of logs laid crosswise over which logs were slid. Around 1900 the name Skid Road was used for the part of a town frequented by loggers, which had many bars and brothels, and by the 1930s the variant skid row, with its current meaning, came into use.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(on) skid ˈrow(informal, especially American English) people who are on skid row live in a very poor part of town where there are many social problems: When he went bankrupt he lost everything, and ended up living on skid row for a few years. OPPOSITE: on easy streetThis expression came from the phrase skid road, referring to the poor part of towns where loggers (= people who cut down trees or cut and transported wood) lived. Originally a skid road was a road made of large pieces of wood, used for moving logs to the mill.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. the name for a place populated with ruined alcoholics and other down-and-out people. Just because they’re on skid row, it doesn’t mean they’re beyond help.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
skid row, on
Destitute, down-and-out. The term comes from the American lumber industry, where it first signified a skidway down which felled logs were slid. In time the part of a town frequented by loggers, which abounded in taverns and brothels, was called Skid Road. In the mid-twentieth century it again became “skid row” and was applied to any area of cheap barrooms and rundown hotels frequented by vagrants and alcoholics.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer