AskDefine | Define backyard

Dictionary Definition

backyard n : the grounds in back of a house

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The yard to the rear of a house


Extensive Definition

A yard is an enclosed area of land, usually tied to a building. The word comes from the same linguistic root as the word garden and has many of the same meanings.
Indeed both terms can loosely be used interchangeably, and may thus be maintained by a yardman (either groundsman or gardener); in a minor, he is called yardboy.
A number of derived words exist, usually tied to a particular usage or building type. Some are now archaic. Examples of such words are courtyard, farmyard, and stableyard.
In North America and Australia today, a yard is any part of a property surrounding or associated with a residential structure, usually (although not necessarily) separate from a garden (where plant maintenance is more formalized). A yard will typically consist mostly of lawn or play area. The yard in front of a house is referred to as a front yard, the area at the rear is known as a backyard. Backyards are generally more private and are thus a more common location for recreation. Yard size varies with population density. In urban centres, many houses have very small or even no yards at all. In the suburbs, yards are generally much larger and have room for such amenities as a patio or swimming pool. A yard in Australia is also a piece of enclosed land for animals or some other purpose, often referred to cattle, sheep or stock yards etc.
In British English, the above description would describe a garden, similarly subdivided into a front-garden and a back-garden. In modern Britain, the term yard is often used for depots and land adjacent to or among workplace buildings, as well as uncultivated land adjoining a building.
The word "yard" came from the Anglo-Saxon geard, compare "garden" (German Garten), Old Norse garðr, Russian gorod = "town" (originally as an "enclosed fortified area"), Latin hortus = "garden", Greek χορτος = "hay" (originally as grown in an enclosed field).

See also



"The Macquarie Dictionary"; The Macquarie Library, 2nd edition, 1991
backyard in German: Hof (Architektur)
backyard in Narom: Couor
backyard in Polish: Dziedziniec
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