American English

Definition of side noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, usually singular] either of the two halves of a surface, an object, or an area that is divided by an imaginary central line They drive on the left side of the road in the Bahamas. the right side of the brain satellite links to the other side of the world She was on the far side of the room. They crossed from one side of the city to the other. Stay on your side of the bed!
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] a position or an area to the left or right of something There is a large window on either side of the front door. He crossed the bridge to the other side of the river. people on both sides of the Atlantic She tilted her head to one side.
  3. not top or bottom
  4. 3[countable] one of the flat surfaces of something that is not the top or bottom, front or back Write your name on the side of the box. There's a scratch on the side of my car. The kitchen door is at the side of the house. a side door/entrance/window Now lay the jar on its side. A notice was stuck to the side of the filing cabinet.
  5. 4[countable] the vertical or sloping surface around something, but not the top or bottom of it A path went up the side of the hill. Brush the sides of the pan with butter. see also hillside, mountainside
  6. edge
  7. 5[countable] a part or an area of something near the edge and away from the middle She stood at the far side of the room, hoping not to be noticed. A van was parked at the side of the road. the south side of the lake The player received treatment on the side of the court. We planted tulips along the side of the lawn. see also bedside, fireside, ringside, riverside, roadside, seaside
  8. of body
  9. 6[countable, usually singular] either the right or left part of a person's body, from the armpit (= where the arm joins the body) to the hip She has a pain down her right side. He was lying on his side.
  10. near to someone or something
  11. 7[singular] a place or position very near to someone or something Stay close by my side. Her husband stood at her side.
  12. of something flat and thin
  13. 8[countable] either of two surfaces of something flat and thin, such as paper or cloth Write on one side of the paper only. Fry the steaks for two minutes on each side.
  14. page
  15. 9[countable] the amount of writing needed to fill one side of a sheet of paper He told us not to write more than three sides.
  16. mathematics
  17. 10[countable] any of the flat surfaces of a solid object A cube has six sides.
  18. 11[countable] any of the lines that form a flat shape such as a square or triangle a shape with five sides The farm buildings form three sides of a square.
  19. -sided
  20. 12used in adjectives to state the number or type of sides a six-sided object a glass-sided container
  21. in war/argument
  22. 13[countable] one of the two or more people or groups taking part in an argument, war, etc. Each side is capable of destroying the other in a nuclear war. We have finally reached an agreement acceptable to all sides. At some point during the war he seems to have changed sides. to be on the winning/losing side There are faults on both sides. The two sides announced a deal yesterday.
  23. 14[countable] one of the opinions, attitudes, or positions held by someone in an argument, a business arrangement, etc. We heard both sides of the argument. I just want you to hear my side of the story first. Will you keep your side of the bargain?
  24. aspect
  25. 15[countable] a particular aspect of something, especially a situation or a person's character These poems reveal her gentle side. This is a side of Alan that I never knew existed. the darker side of human nature It's good you can see the funny side of the situation. I'll take care of that side of things.
  26. sports team
  27. 16[countable] a sports team As captain, Price is confident of leading his side to victory. Their side won by 12 points. We were on the winning/losing side.
  28. of family
  29. 17[countable] the part of your family that people belong to who are related either to your mother or to your father a cousin on my father's side (= a child of my father's brother or sister)
  30. food
  31. 18[countable] (informal) = side dish Your dinner comes with a choice of two sides.
  32. meat
  33. 19[countable] a side of beef/bacon, etc. one of the two halves of an animal that has been killed for meat
  34. Idioms
    be on somebody's side
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    to support and agree with someone I'm definitely on your side in this. Whose side are you on anyway?
    come down on one side of the fence or the other
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    to choose between two possible choices
    err on the side of something
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    to show too much of a good quality I thought it was better to err on the side of caution (= to be too careful rather than take a risk).
    from side to side
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    moving to the left and then to the right and then back again He shook his head slowly from side to side. The ship rolled from side to side.
    from/on the wrong side of the tracks
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    from or living in a poor area or part of town
    get on the right/wrong side of somebody
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    to make someone pleased with you/annoyed with you
    the grass is (always) greener on the other side (of the fence) (saying)
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    said about people who never seem happy with what they have and always think that other people have a better situation than they have
    have something on your side
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    to have something as an advantage that will make it more likely that you will achieve something She may not win this year, but she does have youth on her side.
    know which side your bread is buttered (on) (informal)
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    to know where you can get an advantage for yourself
    look on the bright side
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    to be cheerful or positive about a bad situation, for example by thinking only of the advantages and not the disadvantages
    not leave somebody's side
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    to stay with someone, especially in order to take care of them
    on/from all sides, on/from every side
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    in or from all directions; everywhere We realized we were surrounded on all sides. Disaster threatens on every side. She was bombarded with questions from all sides.
    on the big, small, high, etc. side (informal)
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    slightly too big, small, high, etc. These shoes are a little on the tight side. Don't you think you're a bit on the short side to play basketball?
    on the credit side
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    used to introduce the good points about someone or something, especially after the bad points have been mentioned On the credit side, she's always willing to work very late.
    on the distaff side (old-fashioned)
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    on the woman's side of the family
      on/to one side
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    1. 1out of your way I sat down and put my bags on one side.
    2. 2to be dealt with later I put his complaint to one side until I had more time. Leaving that to one side for now, are there any other questions?
    on the other side of the fence
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    in a situation that is different from the one that you are in
    on the right/wrong side of 40, 50, etc. (informal)
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    younger or older than 40, 50, etc. years of age
    on the safe side
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    being especially careful; taking no risks I took some extra cash just to be on the safe side.
      on the side (informal)
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    1. 1in addition to your main job a mechanic who buys and sells cars on the side
    2. 2secretly or illegally He's married but he has a girlfriend on the side.
    3. 3(of food in a restaurant) served at the same time as the main part of the meal, but on a separate plate; served next to something rather than on top of it I'd like a green salad, with the dressing on the side.
    on the wrong side of the law
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    in trouble with the police
    the other side of the coin
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    the aspect of a situation that is the opposite of or contrasts with the one you have been talking about
    right side out
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    with the part that is usually outside facing you, in the correct way for wearing I had to turn some of the clothes right side out after washing them.
    right side up
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    with the top part turned to the top; in the correct, normal position I dropped my toast, but luckily it fell right side up. opposite upside down
      side by side
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    1. 1close together and facing in the same direction There were two children ahead, walking side by side.
    2. 2together, without any difficulties We have been using both systems, side by side, for two years. The two communities exist happily side by side.
    split your sides (laughing/with laughter)
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    to laugh a lot at someone or something
    to express support for someone in a disagreement She didn't think it was wise to take sides in their argument.
    take/draw somebody to one side
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    to speak to someone in private, especially in order to warn or tell them about something
    a thorn in somebody's side
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    a person or thing that repeatedly annoys someone or stops them from doing something
    time is on your side
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    used to say that someone can wait for something to happen or can wait before doing something
    two sides of the same coin
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    used to talk about two ways of looking at the same situation
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: side