One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A narrow passageway between or behind buildings.
passage, passageway, alleyway, back alley, backstreet, lane, path, pathway, walkView synonyms
- ‘Chomping on an unlit cigar and wearing wrap-around shades, he strode through the narrow alleys and congratulated his troops.’
- ‘It has great 18th and 19th century architecture, with houses built one on top of another separated by stone-paved narrow alleys.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘They found the club along an alley behind a bingo hall.’
- ‘People still have homes behind the peeling façades in these narrow, winding alleys.’
- ‘Curious, Katie sat up to see what it was when she heard a distinct thud in the alley behind the building.’
- ‘I was walking east in the alley behind the bakery and the rest of the stores with the intent of getting food.’
- ‘Inside, the old town wiggles and winds in on itself, a labyrinth of narrow alleys and high walls, hiding dark courtyards.’
- ‘Away from boulevards and cafes, away from lights and crowds, he lived among the narrow, twisting alleys.’
- ‘I've heard rumors about men in trench coats, lurking in dark alleys behind office buildings closed for the day.’
- ‘Some sort of material formed a network of roads in the narrow alleys between buildings, which appeared to filled with humanoids.’
- ‘He turned a corner and walked down a narrow alley to where the door to his apartment complex was.’
- ‘A few hours later, Paul and I were standing in the pouring rain in the alley behind the Johnston Building.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘By his watch, he waited for another forty-five minutes, sitting on the steps in an alley behind the building.’
- ‘The old town also reeks of the past, with its steep passageways and cobbled 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.’
- ‘There are narrow alleys, sharp corners, open courtyards, one-way streets, even dead ends.’
- 1.1 A path lined with trees, bushes, or stones.Compare with allée
- ‘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.’
- ‘Some other members of the neighborhood helped to plant flowers and trees along the alley.’
- ‘Driving out I passed through rolling land with farms and forests and so many alleys of trees.’
- ‘Down an alley lined with trees, shadowy even in the summer heat, stood a little white villa amid a wild garden.’
- ‘He parked the car in an alley surrounded by slick blackberry bushes whose thistles needled out with blood-red tips.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Their trainers crunched against loose stones as they ran down a narrow dirt alley, bordered by high wooden fencing.’
- 1.2with modifier A long, narrow area in which games such as bowling are played.
- ‘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.’
- ‘Great landscaping caught the eye opposite the telephone box and in the general area of the handball alley.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘I couldn't find the old skittle alley, but thankfully they still have a bar.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- 1.3North American Tennis Either of the two areas of the court between the doubles sideline and the singles or service sideline.
- ‘He is just following the tread marks and signs on the tennis alley.’
- ‘At 4.5 feet, it is exactly the width of a tennis alley.’
- 1.4Baseball The area between the outfielders in left center or right center field.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
(right) up one's alley
informal Well suited to one's tastes, interests, or abilities.‘this job would be right up your alley’
- ‘This kind of issue is right up her alley, so you should really check it out and see insights she has for you.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But, by the time Angelina was 11, she had realized that acting was right up her alley, too.’
- ‘She is, after all, an expert on webs, so the navigation of the Worldwide Web is right up her alley.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘This lightweight rocket is right up our alley in that we have a lot of experience building sails for similar type boats.’
- ‘As a broadcasting and graphics design double major the underwriting position is right up his alley.’
- ‘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.’
Late Middle English: from Old French alee ‘walking or passage’, from aler ‘go’, from Latin ambulare ‘to walk’.
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.’
Early 18th century: perhaps a diminutive of alabaster.
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