Main definitions of alley in English

: alley1alley2

alley1

noun

  • 1A narrow passageway between or behind buildings.

    ‘he took a short cut along an alley’
    ‘there were a few muggings in the backstreets and alleys’
    • ‘Some sort of material formed a network of roads in the narrow alleys between buildings, which appeared to filled with humanoids.’
    • ‘In the shadows of the fine buildings where they work, in the lanes and alleys behind the great houses of the wealthy, is another more dangerous city.’
    • ‘They found the club along an alley behind a bingo hall.’
    • ‘It has great 18th and 19th century architecture, with houses built one on top of another separated by stone-paved narrow alleys.’
    • ‘Away from boulevards and cafes, away from lights and crowds, he lived among the narrow, twisting alleys.’
    • ‘Florence's centre, with its narrow alleys, Renaissance buildings and art treasures, was off-limits to the protesters, and the airspace above the city was closed to private aircraft.’
    • ‘A few hours later, Paul and I were standing in the pouring rain in the alley behind the Johnston Building.’
    • ‘I was walking east in the alley behind the bakery and the rest of the stores with the intent of getting food.’
    • ‘Curious, Katie sat up to see what it was when she heard a distinct thud in the alley behind the building.’
    • ‘Inside, the old town wiggles and winds in on itself, a labyrinth of narrow alleys and high walls, hiding dark courtyards.’
    • ‘Chomping on an unlit cigar and wearing wrap-around shades, he strode through the narrow alleys and congratulated his troops.’
    • ‘The old town also reeks of the past, with its steep passageways and cobbled alleys.’
    • ‘There are narrow alleys, sharp corners, open courtyards, one-way streets, even dead ends.’
    • ‘As you walk along narrow alleys, there is a chance that you will see a door and behind it a gondola, or a harpsichord, a fresco or a baroque orchestra rehearsing for an evening concert.’
    • ‘By his watch, he waited for another forty-five minutes, sitting on the steps in an alley behind the building.’
    • ‘I've heard rumors about men in trench coats, lurking in dark alleys behind office buildings closed for the day.’
    • ‘People still have homes behind the peeling façades in these narrow, winding alleys.’
    • ‘It was as good of a plan as any at the time, so they began to walk down the narrow alleys and wider streets, trying to avoid as many people as possible.’
    • ‘He turned a corner and walked down a narrow alley to where the door to his apartment complex was.’
    • ‘After a lengthy walk down the alley, and behind the back of the store, he noticed a lone car parked behind some bushes and shrubbery.’
    passage, passageway, alleyway, back alley, backstreet, lane, path, pathway, walk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A path lined with trees, bushes, or stones.
      ‘alleys of standing stones’
      • ‘Some other members of the neighborhood helped to plant flowers and trees along the alley.’
      • ‘Their trainers crunched against loose stones as they ran down a narrow dirt alley, bordered by high wooden fencing.’
      • ‘We left after a few hours, the pounding fading back into the night up the mountain as we found our way down through the dark along narrow, stone-walled alleys lit only by cherry blossoms filtering moonlight.’
      • ‘He parked the car in an alley surrounded by slick blackberry bushes whose thistles needled out with blood-red tips.’
      • ‘Down an alley lined with trees, shadowy even in the summer heat, stood a little white villa amid a wild garden.’
      • ‘The route is a fascinating medley of cobbled paths, alleys, fortified walls, and gardens.’
      • ‘Rigid with fear Alf began to jog down an alley where the trees hung over to form a canopy beneath the lights creating a shadowy, menacing passageway.’
      • ‘Driving out I passed through rolling land with farms and forests and so many alleys of trees.’
    2. 1.2with modifier A long, narrow area in which games such as skittles and bowling are played.
      ‘a skittle alley’
      • ‘The club offers live music and cabaret acts, a bar, a skittle alley, a function room seating more than 100 people, and various other attractions.’
      • ‘In his youth Michael spent a considerable amount of his time in the handball alley in Asdee and became a great exponent of that game.’
      • ‘When the plans for the new pitch, clubhouse and handball alley were first announced there were many who expressed doubts about the scale of the proposals.’
      • ‘Great landscaping caught the eye opposite the telephone box and in the general area of the handball alley.’
      • ‘It opened in 1996, after they put in many hours of voluntary work converting the former factory into a comfortable place to relax, with its own bar and skittle alley.’
      • ‘I couldn't find the old skittle alley, but thankfully they still have a bar.’
      • ‘As a small boy he learned how to play handball in the local alley down the road at the bridge and almost at the same learned of the treasure of fish in the great river that passed his door.’
      • ‘The daytime activities are free and there will be something for everyone including a mobile skittle alley and a bouncy castle.’
    3. 1.3North American Tennis Either of the two side strips between the singles sideline and the sidelines which count as part of the court in a doubles match.
      • ‘At 4.5 feet, it is exactly the width of a tennis alley.’
      • ‘He is just following the tread marks and signs on the tennis alley.’
    4. 1.4Baseball The area between the outfielders in left-centre or right-centre field.
      • ‘The 315-foot left field line and short alleys have turned Houston baseball into a nightly slugging contest.’
      • ‘In Wrigley Field, the alley in right-center is a more forgiving 368 feet.’
      • ‘I had this calm sense come over me as I was getting up to walk towards the alley, towards, towards the foul line.’
      • ‘The Giants need to push back the power alleys, especially in right field -- the one point that juts out to 420 feet doesn't count.’

Phrases

  • (right) up one's alley

    • informal Well suited to one's tastes, interests, or abilities.

      ‘this job would be right up your alley’
      • ‘She is, after all, an expert on webs, so the navigation of the Worldwide Web is right up her alley.’
      • ‘But, by the time Angelina was 11, she had realized that acting was right up her alley, too.’
      • ‘Developing creative new multiplayer game experiences is right up our alley and we are looking forward to the opportunity.’
      • ‘It would be awesome if there was an Assassin twist to it - knocking people off and taking their game pieces would be right up our alley.’
      • ‘This kind of issue is right up her alley, so you should really check it out and see insights she has for you.’
      • ‘This lightweight rocket is right up our alley in that we have a lot of experience building sails for similar type boats.’
      • ‘A fable of three royal monkeys, it was right up her alley and she took good advantage of the myriad opportunities to depict the main characters in the many incredible settings of the story.’
      • ‘Those who are looking for a challenge will find the single-player aspect of the game right up their alley.’
      • ‘She began working with Austin Junior Volleyball, a job, she says, that was right up her alley.’
      • ‘As a broadcasting and graphics design double major the underwriting position is right up his alley.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French alee ‘walking or passage’, from aler ‘go’, from Latin ambulare ‘to walk’.

Pronunciation

alley

/ˈali/

Main definitions of alley in English

: alley1alley2

alley2

(also ally)

noun

  • A toy marble made of marble, alabaster, or glass.

    • ‘To shoot correctly you held the marble between the thumb and forefinger and by flicking the thumb you propelled the alley forward, at great speed.’
    • ‘It became a game to find treasures for the box: an imitation pearl brooch the next summer, a cat's eye alley marble added the year I was nine, a few copper coins and a string of Indian beads when I was ten or eleven.’

Phrases

  • make one's alley good

    • informal Exploit a situation or opportunity in order to improve one's position.

      ‘he is trying to square them off to make his alley good with supporters’
      • ‘The Pig Man very nearly made his alley good with the La Gloria.’
      • ‘He is uncertain who the new leader will be, and is therefore making his alley good.’
      • ‘Ernie saw the boss's face one day after someone else had made his alley good by dobbing them.’
      • ‘"I will be there, just the same," Connie said, to make her alley good.’
      • ‘The Minister of Finance has to make his alley good if he wants to achieve his ambition.’

Origin

Early 18th century: perhaps a diminutive of alabaster.

Pronunciation

alley

/ˈali/