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alleyway

[ al-ee-wey ]
/ ˈæl iˌweɪ /
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noun

an alley or lane.
a narrow passageway.

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Origin of alleyway

An Americanism dating back to 1780–90; alley1 + way1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is an alleyway?

An alleyway is a narrow passage between buildings or other structures.

Alleyway can also refer to a narrow path or passage behind a row of houses, such as one that allows access to garages and back yards.

The word alley means the same thing.

Example: We took a shortcut through the narrow alleyway between the shops.

Where does alleyway come from?

The first records of the word alleyway come from the late 1700s. The word alley is first recorded much earlier, in the 1300s, and comes from the Middle French alee, meaning “walk” or “passage,” from verb aler, “to walk.” The word way is used in the same way in similar compound words that refer to a lane or passage, including passageway, walkway, and pathway, all of which can be used as synonyms for alleyway in some cases.

However, while passageway and walkway can refer to indoor passages, alleyway typically refers to one that’s outside. In big cities, alleyways between buildings are often very narrow—wide enough to walk down but not drive. These kinds of alleyways are often depicted as dark, dangerous, or mysterious places—places where dangerous people might be lurking. In reality, they’re usually just places where businesses deposit their garbage in dumpsters.

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What are some synonyms for alleyway?

What are some words that share a root or word element with alleyway

What are some words that often get used in discussing alleyway?

How is alleyway used in real life?

Alleyway is most commonly used to refer to the narrow passage between buildings or to the lane behind a row of houses.

 

Try using alleyway!

Is alleyway used correctly in the following sentence? 

Please pull the car around back and park in the alleyway.

British Dictionary definitions for alleyway

alleyway
/ (ˈælɪˌweɪ) /

noun

a narrow passage; alley
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
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