Aisle

ile

The north and south wings of a church. Latin, ala (axilla, ascella), through the French, aile, a wing. In German the nave of a church is schiff, and the aisle flügel (a wing). In some church documents the aisles are called alleys (walks), and hence the nave is still sometimes called the “middle aisle” or alley. The choir of Lincoln Cathedral used to be called the “Chanters' alley;” and Olden tells us that when he came to be churchwarden, in 1638, he made the Puritans “come up the middle alley on their knees to the raile.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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