hit the road

[ad_1] noun
  1. a long, narrow stretch with a smoothed or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, etc., between two or more points; street or highway.
  2. a way or course: the road to peace.
  3. a railroad.
  4. Often roads. Also called roadstead. Nautical. a partly sheltered area of water near a shore in which vessels may ride at anchor.
  5. Mining. any tunnel in a mine used for hauling.
  6. the road, the places, usually outside of New York City, at which theatrical companies on tour generally give performances.
  1. burn up the road, Slang. to drive or move very fast.
  2. down the road, in the future: Economists see higher interest rates down the road.
  3. hit the road, Slang. to begin or resume traveling: We hit the road before sunrise.
  4. one for the road, a final alcoholic drink taken just before departing from a party, tavern, or the like.
  5. on the road,
    1. traveling, especially as a sales representative.
    2. on tour, as a theatrical company: The musical ends its New York run next week to go on the road.
    3. started; under way: We need funds to get the project on the road.
  6. take to the road, to begin a journey or tour.Also take the road.


    1. an open way, usually surfaced with asphalt or concrete, providing passage from one place to another
    2. (as modifier)road traffic; a road map; a road sign
    3. (in combination)the roadside
    1. a street
    2. (capital when part of a name)London Road
    1. US short for railroad
    2. Britishone of the tracks of a railway
  1. a way, path, or coursethe road to fame
  2. Also called: roadstead (often plural) nautical a partly sheltered anchorage
  3. a drift or tunnel in a mine, esp a level one
  4. hit the road slang to start or resume travelling
  5. on the road
    1. travelling, esp as a salesman
    2. (of a theatre company, pop group, etc) on tour
    3. leading a wandering life
  6. take the road or take to the road to begin a journey or tour
  7. one for the road informal a last alcoholic drink before leaving

Old English rad “riding expedition, journey, hostile incursion,” from Proto-Germanic *raido (cf. Old Frisian red “ride,” Old Saxon reda, Middle Dutch rede, Old High German reita “foray, raid”), from PIE *reidh- “to ride” (see ride (v.)). Also related to raid (n.). In Middle English, “a riding, a journey;” sense of “open way for traveling between two places” is first recorded 1590s. Meaning “narrow stretch of sheltered water” is from early 14c. (e.g. Hampton Roads in Virginia).

Modern spelling established 18c. In 19c. U.S. use, often meaning “railroad.” On the road “travelling” is from 1640s. Road test (n.) is from 1906; as a verb from 1937. Road hog is attested from 1886; road rage is from 1988. Road map is from 1786; road trip is by 1950, originally of baseball teams.

Also, hit the trail. Set out, as on a trip. For example, Come on, it’s time to hit the road, or Jack hit the trail at dawn. [Late 1800s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with road

  • road hog
  • road show
  • road to hell is paved with good intentions, the

also see:

  • all roads lead to Rome
  • down the line (road)
  • end of the line (road)
  • get the show on the road
  • hit the road
  • one for the road
  • on the road

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