Definition of backstreet in US English:



  • A minor street remote from a main road.

    as modifier ‘a backstreet garage’
    ‘the fetid backstreets of the shanty town’
    • ‘Just 20 lads are causing mayhem stealing hundreds of cars, tearing round estate roads and then dumping the vehicles on backstreets.’
    • ‘It's got brilliant little backstreets and candy lanes of bars in attics and basements around Plaza Nueva.’
    • ‘Police in Lisbon have also been supplied with 100 new marked patrol cars and 70 scooters, ideal for speeding through the city's tight backstreets.’
    • ‘He said people were comparing prices at top hotels in Ireland with backstreet bars in Spain and they wanted to achieve lower prices by slashing the minimum wage and raising taxes.’
    • ‘She floated through the maze of alleys and backstreets, craning her neck, her eyes searching.’
    • ‘We left the park and walked back via backstreets to the hotel.’
    • ‘We had to maneuver for hours, trying different fruitless backstreets, before breaking onto open highway.’
    • ‘It sounded as remarkable in person as it did on the day I had it playing on my discman, walking through the backstreets of Berlin looking for the studio in which it was recorded.’
    • ‘I found it depressing to think of all those kids stuck, bored, in some dismal backstreet pub in London or Leysdown whilst their uninterested parents booze away hundreds of pounds.’
    • ‘Turn right out of Gare du Nord and it's only a short walk through the backstreets to Montmartre, a bohemian hill with spectacular views across the city.’
    • ‘Still, I enjoyed our jaunt through the backstreets of Brighton with a bottle of wine in each hand, as we made our way on foot from the multi-storey car park a quarter of a mile away.’
    • ‘We drove through the dusty backstreets of Dangriga until we pulled up outside a sun-bleached wooden house on stilts.’
    • ‘Tree-lined boulevards dotted with pavement cafes and small boutiques characterise this atypical Tokyo quarter, and a maze of alleyways and backstreets happily interrupts the city's otherwise ubiquitous grid pattern.’
    • ‘I walk the backstreets and gravelly car-parks for at least half an hour and fail to find a single game in progress.’
    • ‘We set off through the illuminated streets of nighttime London, round Hyde Park Corner, up Piccadilly and through the backstreets of Mayfair.’
    • ‘Use of the bollard should be limited to enforcing timed restrictions on city centre roads and to very specific cases where small backstreets are made unsafe by rat-running.’
    • ‘Then they burst from the backstreets and the alleyway onto a large empty thoroughfare.’
    • ‘However, that made her even more surprised when, only a few exits later, the car turned back off the thruway and into a maze of backstreets and alleys.’
    • ‘Instead of giving me worn phrases I could find in travel brochures, why can't she write about the culture, the people, and backstreet nooks and crannies that elude most tourists?’
    • ‘But also - by wandering through the lesser-known quarters, backstreets and countless minor markets - you will get a sense of the living city too.’


  • attributive Operating or performed secretly, and typically illegally.

    ‘a loophole that allowed backstreet chemists to make methamphetamine’