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Is there a word for the beginning of a street? What word would be used to describe where a street begins? I have a friend who says that in Persian, it's described as the "head" of the street, but I can't think of how it would be described in English. Does anyone know?

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I don't think streets usually have beginnings in English. They do have two "ends". –  Peter Shor Apr 16 '13 at 17:49
    
@PeterShor The numbering has to start somewhere though right? –  Ataraxia Apr 16 '13 at 17:49
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@Zetto: the numbering starts at one end of the street, and stops at the other end. The only time I might ever use "start" or "beginning" for a street is with a one-way steet, and I don't know if there is a standard term in this case. –  Peter Shor Apr 16 '13 at 17:51
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3 Answers

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The "end of the street (or block)" works regardless of which end - but to determine which end requires context.

For example, if I am going to meet my friend at one end or the other of Lowe Ave., which end would be determined by where we are going. If we were going to walk to the bar, my friend would know to meet me at the north "end of the street". If we were going to the deli, she would know to meet me at the south "end of the street".

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You can refer to either end of a road as its terminus, as in the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway or the eastern terminus of Route 66, or for that matter, simple as one end of it.

If you want to emphasize the start of something and avoid the finality connotations of terminus or end, you could perhaps use origination or origin instead, or use the verb form:

Wall Street originates at South Street and terminates Broadway.

I cannot speak for other countries, but the U.S. has no national system for street numbering-- there can be multiple systems even within the same city, as in New York-- and there is no standard term for the point where numbers originate. As most settlements have streets laid out in a grid, one would not ordinarily speak of the start of a road in reference to its street number, as the start of one road is usually also the start of all parallel roads. Rather, you have a base line or baseline, though this is not the primary usage of that term. I have also heard zero line. In some places, where distance markers and street numbering are aligned, the origin may be a zero milestone or zero mile marker (regardless of whether a physical marker exists), but that does not apply in many places, and can simply be confusing.

When I describe street numbering in Washington, D.C., I refer to the entire grid being centered on or numbered from the U.S. Capitol Building, as the origin point does not correspond to any extant road.

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We use the phrases "top of the street" and "bottom of the street".

Though it may not always be clear without context which end is which. It does not always co-incide with postal address numbering.

Some examples of usage:

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