noun, plural al·leys.
- a long, narrow, wooden lane or floor along which the ball is rolled.
- (often plural) a building for bowling.
- bowling green.
Origin of alley1
Definition for alley (2 of 2)
noun, plural al·leys. Chiefly Northeastern U.S.
Examples from the Web for alley
The picture you took of the boy lying in the alley also seemed to strike a chord.
The alley cat and her kittens would have mugged him already.Up To a Point: Robber Barons Make Way For Robber Nerds|P. J. O’Rourke|August 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He said his cousin had been found dead in an alley and he had to rush home.The Stacks: How Leonard Chess Helped Make Muddy Waters|Alex Belth|August 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It had rained while we were inside and the air in the alley smelled almost fresh.Stanley Booth on the Life and Hard Times of Blues Genius Furry Lewis|Stanley Booth|June 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Trell had a bus ticket to Iowa and the promise of a new life in his pocket when he was fatally shot in a Chicago alley in 2012.What’s More Obscene Than Rihanna’s Boobs? Instagram’s Kids With Guns|Michael Daly|May 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In her extremity she saw the mouth of the alley, dodged in, and was safe.The Battle with the Slum|Jacob A. Riis.
A moment later the Filippeschi and their burden had disappeared into the alley.The Saracen: Land of the Infidel|Robert Shea
The Nipe moved cautiously along the alley toward the rear of the building that was his target.Anything You Can Do ...|Gordon Randall Garrett
After a stroll through the alley, we selected the house that had displayed behind it some lovely pheasants and salmon.My Life in Many States and in Foreign Lands|George Francis Train
Both exerted every nerve, and ten seconds later the wagon rolled out of the open doors, and was guided by Matt up the alley.Young Auctioneers|Edward Stratemeyer
British Dictionary definitions for alley (1 of 2)
Word Origin for alley
British Dictionary definitions for alley (2 of 2)
Word Origin for alley
Word Origin and History for alley
mid-14c., "passage in a house; open passage between buildings; walkway in a garden," from Old French alee (13c., Modern French allée) "a path, passage, way, corridor," also "a going," from fem. of ale, past participle of aler "to go," which ultimately may be a contraction of Latin ambulare "to walk," or from Gallo-Romance allari, a back-formation from Latin allatus "having been brought to" [Barnhart]. Cf. sense evolution of gate. Applied by c.1500 to "long narrow enclosure for playing at bowls, skittles, etc." Used in place names from c.1500.
The word is applied in American English to what in London is called a mews, and also is used there especially of a back-lane parallel to a main street (1729). To be up someone's alley "in someone's neighborhood" (literally or figuratively) is from 1931; alley-cat attested by 1890.
Idioms and Phrases with alley
In addition to the idiom beginning with alley
- alley cat
- blind alley
- right up one's alley