View Full Version : usage of sidebar

04-01-2004, 02:15 PM
Does anybody know who first used the term "sidebar"? Was it the legal profession or journalists? If law, a sidebar is a conversation between lawyers and judges (members of the bar) outside the hearing of the jury. If the media, it usually means a related, smaller story which runs next to a main story, usually one column wide, hence the "bar." I'm guessing it was the legal profession, since lawyers have been around longer than modern newspapers, but I haven't been able to verify this. Thanks in advance.

04-01-2004, 02:57 PM
The OED has the earliest definition as:

1. Law. a. A former bar in the Outer Parliament House in Edinburgh

First cite: 1708. The side bar eventually came to be where lawyers would meet to determine ad hoc rules for the trial.

The first cite of the newspaper meaning is from 1948, so the legal definition has a two-century head start.