From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Webster's Dictionary [1]

(1): (n.) A spot or small marked space; as, the germinative area.

(2): (n.) Extent; scope; range; as, a wide area of thought.

(3): (n.) The superficial contents of any figure; the surface included within any given lines; superficial extent; as, the area of a square or a triangle.

(4): (n.) An extent of surface; a tract of the earth's surface; a region; as, vast uncultivated areas.

(5): (n.) The sunken space or court, giving ingress and affording light to the basement of a building.

(6): (n.) The inclosed space on which a building stands.

(7): (n.) Any plane surface, as of the floor of a room or church, or of the ground within an inclosure; an open space in a building.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [2]

a space within which monuments stood, being protected by Roman law from the acts of ownership 'to which other lands were liable. In the Roman catacombs care has evidently been taken lest the subterraneous excavations should transgress the limits of the area on the surface. This reverence of the Roman law for burial - places enabled the early Christians; except in times of persecution, to preserve their sepulchres inviolate. The: areas about the tombs of: the :martyrs were especially so preserved, where meetings for worship were held and churches' frequently built. So the Acta Proconsularia of the trial of Felix speak of the areae, "where you Christians make prayers." These areae were frequently named from some well-known person buried there; thus St. Cyprian is said to have been buried 'in the area of the procurator Candidus." In another work, certain citizens are said to have been shut upin area martyrum, where, perhaps, a church is intended. The name area is also applied to the court in front of a church.