Word of the Day : May 18, 2013


noun al-uh-MEE-duh


: a public promenade bordered with trees

Did You Know?

Residents of the American Southwest may remember the "álamo" in "alameda." This "álamo" is not the 18th-century Franciscan mission that was the site of a key battle in the fight for Texas independence, however, but the Spanish name for the poplar tree (the mission, the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, was named for the trees that grew near it). Spanish speakers used "álamo" as the basis for their word "alameda," which can name either a grove of poplars or a tree-lined avenue. English speakers found "alameda" so appropriate for a shady public promenade that they borrowed it as a generic term in the 1700s. And yes, the Spanish "alameda" and nearby poplar trees also contributed to the naming of the city of Alameda, California.


"The evening was soft and warm and in the little alameda grackles were settling in the trees and calling to one another."- From Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel No Country for Old Men

"The use of street trees and public gardens in plans for new towns in the late eighteenth century and the creation of alamedas and paseos in most of the larger existing towns reflect the spread of Enlightenment ideas to the colonies from Europe." - From Henry W. Lawrence's 2008 book City Trees: A Historical Geography from the Renaissance Through the Nineteenth Century

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