back-alley

[ bak-al-ee ]
/ ˈbækˈæl i /

adjective

dirty, unprepossessing, sordid, or clandestine: back-alley morals; back-alley political schemes.

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Origin of back-alley

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for back-alley

  • There wasn't any use making a back-alley dash for it, as we didn't know the lay of the land and they were between us and New York.

    Shorty McCabe|Sewell Ford
  • As for Pete Hilliard's crowd and their small-town, back-alley ways of amusing themselves—hell!

    Rough-Hewn|Dorothy Canfield
  • They pour in from everywhere—from every highway and byway and back-alley—a regular tidal wave.

    Beyond the Marne|Henriette Cuvru-Magot