a. A comparatively small uncultivated area attached to a house or other building or enclosed by it; esp. such an area surrounded by walls or buildings within the precincts of a house, castle, inn, etc. Cf. backyard n., castle yard, chapel-yard n., courtyard n., inn-yard, palace yard, stable-yard.In Old English used in singular and plural = dwelling, house, home, the ‘courts of heaven’; also, region, tract (cf. middangeard middenerd n.).
b. spec. †(a) The ‘ground’ of a playhouse, originally an inn-yard; (b) Scottish plural a school playground; (c) = court n.1 3 (esp. in proper names, as Carter's Yard, Thompson's Yard in Oxford).
d. An enclosure attached to a prison, in which the prisoners take exercise. liberty of the yard (U.S.): see quot. 1828.
f. U.S. A college campus or the area enclosed by its main buildings; spec. at Harvard: the Yard, the quadrangle formed by the original college buildings.
2. An enclosure forming a pen for cattle or poultry, a storing place for hay, or the like, belonging to a farm-house or surrounded by farm-buildings, or one in which a barn or similar building stands. (Cf. barn-yard n. at barn n. Compounds 2, farmyard n. and adj., poultry-yard.)
3. A piece of enclosed ground of moderate size, often adjoining a house and covered with grass or planted with trees; a garden. Now chiefly North American and dialect, a kitchen or cottage-garden (cf. door-yard n., kail-yard at kailyard n.). See also grass yard n. at grass n.1 Compounds 5, green yard n.
a. An enclosure set apart for the growing, rearing, breeding, or storing of something or the carrying on of some work or business. Cf. brickyard n., dockyard n., dung-yard, hemp-yard, orchard n. (Old English ortgeard), shipyard n., tan-yard, vineyard n., †winyard (Old English wíngeard).
b. The piece of ground adjacent to a railway station or terminus, used for making up trains, storing rolling-stock, etc.; also an enclosure in which cabs, trams, etc. are kept when not in use.
c. the Yards, the stockyards where cattle are collected for slaughter, esp. in Chicago. U.S.
5. U.S. and Canadian. An area in which moose and deer congregate, esp. during the winter months.
C1. attributive and in other combinations. (a) in sense 1, as yard-broom, yard door, yard gate, yard wall; (b) in sense 2, as yard-bar, yard-dung, yard-liquor, yard-pond, yard-room; †(c) in sense 3 (Scottish and U.S.), as yard door, yard end, yard house, yard tack; (d) in sense 4a, 4b, esp. relating to dockyards, ship-yards, cab yards, or railway yards, as yard clerk, yard craft, yard-keeper, yard-lighter, yard-master.
yard boy n. now North American and Caribbean a handyman or general labourer; a gardener.ⓘ
yard-grass n. a low annual grass, Eleusine indica, common in ‘yards’ about houses in parts of U.S.A.; also Cynodon Dactylon.
yard-money n. fees payable by hirers of cabs from cab-owners to stablemen, etc. on returning them to the yard.
yard sale n. U.S. a sale of miscellaneous second-hand items held in the garden of a private house.
Draft additions 1993
a. Jamaican, Trinidad, Tobago, and Guyana. An area of land with multiple small poor-quality houses that have communal facilities and are inhabited by poor people. Cf. tenement yard n. (b) at tenement n. Additions.
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