alley

1
[ al-ee ]
/ ˈæl i /

noun, plural al·leys.

a passage, as through a continuous row of houses, permitting access from the street to backyards, garages, etc.
a narrow back street.
a walk, as in a garden, enclosed with hedges or shrubbery.
Bowling.
  1. a long, narrow, wooden lane or floor along which the ball is rolled.
  2. (often plural) a building for bowling.
  3. bowling green.
Tennis. the space on each side of a tennis court between the doubles sideline and the service or singles sideline.
Rare. an aisle.

Idioms

    up/down one's alley, Informal. in keeping with or satisfying one's abilities, interests, or tastes: If you like science fiction, this book will be right up your alley.

Origin of alley

1
1350–1400; Middle English al(e)y < Middle French alee walk, passage, derivative of feminine of ale, past participle of aler to walk (French aller), probably < Vulgar Latin *allārī, regularized from allātus, the suppletive past participle of afferre to bring (passive afferrī to be moved, conveyed, to betake oneself); French aller often allegedly < Latin ambulāre to walk (see amble), but this offers grave phonetic problems, since the m and b would not normally be lost

Definition for alley (2 of 2)

alley

2
[ al-ee ]
/ ˈæl i /

noun, plural al·leys. Chiefly Northeastern U.S.

a choice, large playing marble.

Origin of alley

2
1710–20; probably al(abaster) + -y2, spelling to conform with alley1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for alley

British Dictionary definitions for alley (1 of 2)

alley

1
/ (ˈælɪ) /

noun

a narrow lane or passage, esp one between or behind buildings
tennis, mainly US the space between the singles and doubles sidelines
a walk in a park or garden, esp one lined with trees or bushes
up one's alley or down one's alley See street (def. 10)

Word Origin for alley

C14: from Old French alee, from aler to go, ultimately from Latin ambulāre to walk

British Dictionary definitions for alley (2 of 2)

alley

2
/ (ˈælɪ) /

noun

a large playing marble

Word Origin for alley

C18: shortened and changed from alabaster
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with alley

alley


In addition to the idiom beginning with alley

  • alley cat

also see:

  • blind alley
  • right up one's alley
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.