Roads, artificial pathways formed through a country for the accommodation of travelers and the carriage of commodities. Through the Romans set an example as roadbuilders, some of their public highways being yet serviceable, the roads throughout most of Europe were in a wretched condition till toward the end of the 18th century. France was in advance of other countries in road making; in England a decided improvement of the highways only began in the 19th century. Before the time of Macadam it was customary to use broken stones of different sizes to form the roadway, the consequence being that in course of time the smaller stones sank, making the road rough and dangerous. Macadam early in the 19th century introduced the princicle of using stones of uniform size from top to bottom. What is known as the rule of the road is that in passing other horsemen or carriages, whether going in the same or the opposite direction, the rider or driver must pass on the left hand of the other rider or driver.


Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Road (?), n. [AS. rad a riding, that on which one rides or travels, a road, fr. ridan to ride. See Ride, and cf. Raid.]

1.

A journey, or stage of a journey.

[Obs.]

With easy roads he came to Leicester. Shak.

2.

An inroad; an invasion; a raid.

[Obs.]

Spenser.

3.

A place where one may ride; an open way or public passage for vehicles, persons, and animals; a track for travel, forming a means of communication between one city, town, or place, and another.

The most villainous house in all the London road. Shak.

⇒ The word is generally applied to highways, and as a generic term it includes highway, street, and lane.

4. [Possibly akin to Icel. rei[eth]i the rigging of a ship, E. ready.]

A place where ships may ride at anchor at some distance from the shore; a roadstead; -- often in the plural; as, Hampton Roads.

Shak.

Now strike your saile, ye jolly mariners, For we be come unto a quiet rode [road]. Spenser.

On, ∨ Upon, the road, traveling or passing over a road; coming or going; on the way.

My hat and wig will soon be here, They are upon the road. Cowper.

-- Road agent, a highwayman, especially on the stage routes of the unsettled western parts of the United States; -- a humorous euphemism. [Western U.S.]

The highway robber -- road agent he is quaintly called. The century.

-- Road book, a quidebook in respect to roads and distances. -- Road metal, the broken, stone used in macadamizing roads. -- Road roller, a heavy roller, or combinations of rollers, for making earth, macadam, or concrete roads smooth and compact. -- often driven by steam. -- Road runner Zool., the chaparral cock. -- Road steamer, a locomotive engine adapted to running on common roads. -- To go on the road, to engage in the business of a commercial traveler. [Colloq.] -- To take the road, to begin or engage in traveling. -- To take to the road, to engage in robbery upon the highways.

Syn. -- Way; highway; street; lane; pathway; route; passage; course. See Way.

 

© Webster 1913.

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