0

I was thinking about writing these lines in a poem, in which I use the word "bevel" to refer to a driveway that is not completely level, but rather on an angle.

Out beyond the driveway,
Where the car sits quietly on a bevel.

I know it is not typical to refer to a driveway as a "bevel", and I must admit I am using this word to achieve a slant rhyme with another word higher up in the poem.

But I wanted to know, does it make sense here? Would you deem it acceptable? Especially given the license typically afforded to the author of a poem?

Here are some dictionary entries that made me hope I could be using the word correctly.

(Wiktionary) 1. An edge that is canted, one that is not a 90 degree angle; a chamfer. to give a bevel to the edge of a table or a stone slab

(Merriam Webster online) 2a. the angle that one surface or line makes with another when they are not at right angles

But I must admit that neither give me confidence. I would appreciate your opinions!

9
  • @NigelJ I don't think so, because I'm asking about this word in a very specific context (i.e. driveways) whereas that question and its answers do not touch upon this context.
    – ktm5124
    Jan 4, 2018 at 6:58
  • What has your own research into the word revealed? How many dictionaries even hint at this usage of bevel vs how many which do not?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 4, 2018 at 7:43
  • @NigelJ not really, the correct word here is neither of those given on the question about the building. Jan 4, 2018 at 14:46
  • It's ironic you use the phrase slant rhyme because slant is one word that would probably be appropriate here. Jan 4, 2018 at 15:06
  • 1
    The word in the question itself is correct - slope. Bevel is inappropriate.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 4, 2018 at 15:40

1 Answer 1

1

The “technical” words for the slope on a driveway are usually:

Fall, which really means the height difference but is usually quoted as a ratio (i.e. the steepness e.g. 1:10 - very very steep - or 1:100 - barely enough to allow proper drainage).

Slope (I know, but I have to introduce you to this word, because it's “the sexyobvious one”). The entry for slope in Merriam-Webster's thesaurus even mentions driveways in its example for slope as a transitive verb.

Slant, on reflection, sounds wrong in the context of something like a drive or road - the image it conjures up is, well, of a sideways slope, or rake, similar to a ...

... camber, which usually refers to a curved shape of a road - its cross-section, primarily for drainage purposes - or occasionally to the inward tilt that's usually incorporated into a bend in a road. (Tilt also implies a sideways slope).

One final term, grade, sounds quite old-fashioned to me but appears to be quite commonly used (Stateside, at least) in, I guess you'd call it a “civil engineering” context.

There are plenty of other synonyms listed at the M-W site, and you can follow the links around 'til you find one you like :o)

FWIW, depending on the context and what you were trying to rhyme with, hill could work, just by assonance between the -l tails. Long shot, just putting it out there.

1
  • I also missed ramp, but that's a quite specific meaning too. Jan 5, 2018 at 3:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.