45 Synonyms for “Road”

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This post lists synonyms for road and specific terms for various types of roads. It excludes words primarily of use in British English or in other languages, as well as other senses of the terms.

1. alley: a narrow street, especially one providing access to the rear of buildings or lots between blocks
2. alleyway: see alley
3. arterial: a through street or highway
4. artery: a major road
5. avenue: a road or street
6. backstreet: a street set off from a main street
7. beltway: a highway passing around an urban area
8. boulevard: a wide road, often divided and/or landscaped
9. branch: a side road
10. bypass: a road passing around a town
11. bystreet: see backstreet
12. byway: see backstreet
13. causeway: a highway, especially one raised across water or wet ground
14. circle: a curving street, especially one intersecting at both ends on another street
15. close: a road closed at one end
16. corniche: a coastal road, especially alongside a cliff face
17. corridor: a local or regional route in the Appalachian region of the United States
18. crossroad: a road that crosses a main road or runs between main roads
19. court: a road closed at one end, especially with a circular end
20. cul-de-sac: see court
21. dead end: a road closed at one end
22. drag: slang pertaining to a road often traveled on as a leisurely pastime (or, as “main drag,” slang referring to the principal road, or one of the principal roads, in a city or town)
23. drive: a public road
24. expressway: a high-speed divided highway with partially or fully controlled access
25. freeway: an expressway with fully controlled access
26. highway: a main road
27. interstate: an expressway that traverses more than one state
28. lane: a road, often narrow (also refers to the portion of a road set apart for a single line of vehicles)
29. Main Street: the principal street of a town
30. parkway: a landscaped road
31. pike: see turnpike
32. place: a short street
33. route: see highway
34. row: a designation sometimes given to roads in place of road, drive, etc.
35. secondary road: a road subordinate to a main road
36. shunpike: a side road used to avoid a main road or a toll road
37. side road: a road that intersects with a main road
38. side street: see “side road”
39. street: a road within a city or town
40. superhighway: an expressway for high-speed traffic
41. thoroughfare: a main road, or a road that intersects with more than one other road
42. through street: see thoroughfare
43. throughway: see expressway
44. turnpike: a main road, especially one on which tolls are or were collected
45. way: a designation sometimes given to roads in place of road, drive, etc.

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12 thoughts on “45 Synonyms for “Road””

  1. Here in Flagstaff, we probably have more astronomers, per capita, that anywhere else — because of the Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Naval Observatory, and the U.S. Geological Survey (a branch that makes maps of the planets, moons, asteroids, etc.)
    We do have short residential streets with names like MILKY WAY, and a longer road to Percival Lowell’s observatory named Mars Hill Road, and I did notice a short residential street named Lois Lane.
    I did observe that Lois Lane ought to be in Metropolis, Illinois, as well as Clark Kent Boulevard and Lex Luthor Lane.

  2. Technically speaking, a beltway is one that goes all the way around, unlike the bypasses of Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Montreal, Nashville, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, etc.

    The cities that are famous for having real beltways include Atlanta (285), Baltimore (695), Cincinnati (275), Columbus (270), Houston (two), Indianapolis (465), Kansas City (435), LONDON, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Washington, D.C. (495).
    In fact, Washington has two suburbs with related names: Beltsville and Greenbelt.

    There are cities listed above where it would be very difficult to have a real Beltway because of these great obstacles: the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, the Wasatch Mountains, and the St. Lawrence River.

  3. The use of “way” in such situations probably traces all the way back to (or earlier than) the ancient Roman “Appian Way” that runs a long way southeast from Rome. Then there are immense problems like the word “railway”. We Americans and Canadians know these best: “railroad”.
    In German, the equivalent word is Bahn, and that one traces all the way back to an ancient word for “footpath” of “trail”. In the long run, this has given us the words “Autobahn” and “Eisenbahn”. Of course, an Autobahn is a high-speed highway for automobiles, and Eisenbahn means “iron path” or “iron path” = “railroad”. Then from this descends “Bahnhof” = “railroad station”, where “Hof” means “courtyard”, as for a real court of law, a Kirchhof (church yard), or Friedhof (graveyard).
    The Germans and the British are also stuck on the word Wagen for what we call a “railroad car”. “Car” is short for “carriage”. English is much simpler and more compact. A “Lastkraftwagen” (four syllables) is simply a “truck” to us in North America (one syllable).

  4. “avenue: a road or street”. More specifically, an “avenue” is in general an important thoroughfare.
    For example: 5th Avenue in New York City (aka “The Avenue of the Americas”) and Madison Avenue, too.
    1st Avenue is very important in many cities, as is Washington Avenue.
    In Washington, D.C.: Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Ave., Massachusetts Ave., Connecticut Ave., New York Ave., Georgia Ave.
    Ponce de Leon Avenue and North Avenue in Atlanta
    Colfax Avenue in Denver
    Constitution Avenue in Canberra
    Birmingham, Alabama, is different. Birmingham was organized around an important railroad running east-west, and so its two most important avenues run parallel with this one: 2nd Avenue North and 2nd Avenue South.
    In some American cities, such as Montgomery, there are avenues running parallel to one another in this order:
    Washington Ave., Adams Ave., Jefferson Ave., Madison Ave., Monroe Ave., and Jackson Ave. (They left out John Quincy Adams on purpose.)

  5. I cannot resist: “The Road to Singapore” (1940), “The Road to Zanzibar” (1941), “The Road to Morocco” (1942), “The Road to Hong Kong” (1962), etc.
    In a completely different meaning “the road to perdition”.

  6. All of this about roads made me think of sayings about Rome:
    All roads lead to Rome.
    Rome was not built in a day.
    Rome: The Eternal City.
    When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
    Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
    When the Coliseum crumbles, Rome will die, and so will the world.
    I remember a song that said “She makes Colorado Boulevard look like a Roman chariot race, now,” but I can’t find that lyric. Maybe it was a different version of “Little Old Lady from Pasadena”.

  7. Many cities have a Beltway, but Atlanta has a Perimeter (highway). They are still (mentally) digging in for the Yankees to attack…

  8. A “side street” is also one that is not an arterial highway.
    A proverbial question (originally from Los Angeles) is “Where can I drive my Ferrari 180 m.p.h.?”
    The wacky answer was “Any side street”.

    A completely different idea is “cross street”, as in “What is your cross street on De Anza Ave?” Answer: 222nd Street.

  9. There is only one reason for “corridor” to apply to the Appalachian region of the United States.
    During the presidential administration of Lyndon Johnson, he favored a series of Federal projects (“Appalachia” projects) to fight the rampant poverty in the Appalachian region. In the Acts of Congress that he pushed through, there were several transportation projects in “corridors” with names like “Corridor X” and “Corridor Y”. Some of these had to do with railroads and/or inland waterways, but most of them had to do with highways, including Interstate Highways that were not in the original Eisenhower Plan of 1956. One of these “Corridors” developed into Interstate 77, which extends all the way from Cleveland south to Columbia, South Carolina.
    Hence, this new Interstate Highway was made to benefit the mountainous areas of West Virginia, western Virginia, North Carolina, and northern South Carolina.
    Other “Corridors” were established connecting North Carolina with East Tennessee (an extension of Interstate 26); Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky; Maryland with West Virginia (Interstate 68); and just in Pennsylvania; and in places that are not Appalachian at all, such as Birmingham to Memphis via Mississippi; in Louisiana; in Arkansas; in Missouri; and in Texas.

  10. A “freeway” also carries the connotation that no tolls are collected on the “high-speed divided highway”. Good examples: John F. Kennedy Freeway (Chicago), the Santa Monica Freeway (Los Angeles County), the San Diego Freeway (in three big counties),
    On such highways on which tolls are collected, the word switches to “turnpike” or “tollway”. Good examples: Pennsylvania Turnpike; Florida’s Turnpike; a tollway that bypasses Austin, Tex. (relieving I-35); various tollways in the tristate region of NE Illinois, NW Indiana, and SE Wisconsin; the New Jersey Turnpike; the New York Turnpike
    8. boulevard: a wide road, often divided and/or landscaped
    10. bypass: a road passing around a town
    12. byway: see backstreet
    13. causeway: a highway, especially one raised across water or wet ground
    24. expressway: a high-speed divided highway with partially or fully controlled access
    25. freeway: an expressway with fully controlled access

  11. An astonishingly long freeway (w/o any tolls at all), is Interstate 40, which traverses North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas (the panhandle only), New Mexico, Arizona, and a wide patch of California. Interstate 10 goes further, but it traverses the extremely wide states of Florida and Texas, plus a wide span of Arizona.
    Interstate 70 traverses a lot of states, but it has stretches of tollway in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kansas. Just counting up the states from east to west gives Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and about half of Utah (nine states).
    Interstate 90 doubtless tops this total.

  12. The German city of Berlin lies partially on a spread of marshland (around the Spree River and its tributaries).
    One of longest and most scenic thoroughfares in Berlin runs from west to east from the old “French Zone” all the way across midtown and the old “Soviet Zone”, and it is called the Kurfurstendamm. “Damm” comes from an old German word for a causeway (or the likes) crossing wet land like that is found in much of Berlin. “Kurfurst” is an old word that refers to the Crown Prince over that part of Germany, including Brandenburg. Naturally, the Kurfurstendamm passes not too far from the historic Brandenburg Gate!

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