Two people are sitting in a bar. One of them says to the other:

If you're looking for a place to eat, you should try the cafe just down the street.

What does "just down" mean/imply here?


The word just has a range of meanings - the one applicable to OP's cited context is as per this definition in Merriam-Webster...

just 2a:
by a very small margin : BARELY
Example usage: just too late

Hence just down the road means down the road, but not very far down the road (i.e. - nearby). Note that it's pretty arbitrary whether the place is up, down, or along the street (or over, across if it happens to be on the other side of the thoroughfare). But I'm sure that issue will have been covered by earlier ELL questions.

I imagine this barely, merely sense arose by extension from the underlying meaning of just = exact[ly] (whereby It's just enough! came to imply not more than enough AS WELL AS not less than enough).

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In this sentence, the cafe is on the same street, not too far away. The phrase is down the street meaning further along the street that you are on. And the just means something like a little, though in some situations it might be used more to emphasize that it's easy to get to the place, rather than a reference to distance.

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