1. the ‘area’ of a house, adjacent to the basement steps.
|Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 15: He was lying on all fours down the hairy of an house.|
|Swell’s Night Guide 68: I’ve tumbled on a donna, who has been doing the multa bonna fakement, pallarying the slavies down the haries and she has done stunning, and copped a lummy slum of bonna scran.|
|Pippins and Pies 66: He toll’d me with his own lips — I was the bell of all the aireys — and sich lips as he as Poll! oh my!|
|Ravenshoe II 163: Miss Flanagan fell out of winder into the airy, and then they took she to Guy’s hospital.|
|Wild Boys of London I 234/1: We’ll have a peeler in the aery ready, don’t yer brown?|
|Leeds Times 7 May 6/5: I’ve dropped a penny down the airy-grating. Please knock and ask for it.|
|‘A Jubilation Dress’ [lyrics] But a sweet voice from an airey Shrieked ‘Oh my! what a lark!’.|
|Arthur’s 164: Climbed down nigh every airey we passed; stole the milk-cans, an’ tied ’em up to the knockers.|
|Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 56: One, two, three a-lairy, / My ball’s gone down the airy!|
|Time Remembered (1985) 69: When a ball went into the area — the ‘airy’ we called it — we had to climb the railings [...] to rescue it.|
|(con. 1920s) My East End (2000) 82: We lived in rows of terraced houses with just upstairs and downstairs, and a few basements [airys or areas], wedged close together.|
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
|Oliver Twist (1966) 404: The pots I took off airy railings.|
|Dead Men’s Shoes I 290: My missus is out of town, and we don’t want no airy sneaks loafing about while she’s away.|
|Dinny on the Doorstep 27: The young Dorans [...] derived no small enjoyment from watching what was happening within sight of their airy day-nursery.|