noun \ˈml, especially British & for 1 ˈmal\

: a large building or group of buildings containing stores of many different kinds and sizes

: a public area where people walk

Full Definition of MALL

:  an alley used for pall-mall
[The Mall, promenade in London, originally a pall-mall alley]
a :  a usually public area often set with shade trees and designed as a promenade or as a pedestrian walk
b :  a usually paved or grassy strip between two roadways
a :  an urban shopping area featuring a variety of shops surrounding a usually open-air concourse reserved for pedestrian traffic
b :  a usually large suburban building or group of buildings containing various shops with associated passageways

Examples of MALL

  1. They spent the afternoon shopping at the mall.
  2. <the pedestrian traffic through the grassy mall is heaviest during the summer lunch hours>

Origin of MALL

short for obsolete pall-mall mallet used in pall-mall
First Known Use: 1644

Other Business Terms

amortize, caveat emptor, clearinghouse, divest, due diligence, emolument, green-collar, marque, overhead, perquisite
MALL Defined for Kids


noun \ˈml\

Definition of MALL for Kids

:  a large building or group of buildings containing a variety of shops
:  a public area for pedestrians

Word History of MALL

In Italy in the 1500s a popular game similar to croquet was known as pallamaglio, from palla, ball, and maglio, mallet. The game (and word) was adopted by the French as pallemalle and in the 1600s by the English as pall-mall. The alley on which the game was played came to be known as a mall. One of the best known of these alleys, covered with sand and crushed shells, was located in London's St. James Park and was known as The Mall. After the game lost favor, the Mall at St. James, as it continued to be called, was turned into a fashionable walkway with trees and flowers. Similar open-air places came to be called malls also. In the 20th century the word was applied to other public spaces, including the shopping complexes we now know as malls.


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