back-street

[bak-street]
|

adjective

taking place in secrecy and often illegally: back-street political maneuvering; back-street drug dealing.

Nearby words

  1. back-pedal,
  2. back-seat driver,
  3. back-slapping,
  4. back-stabbing,
  5. back-stitch,
  6. back-talk,
  7. back-to-back,
  8. back-to-basics,
  9. back-to-nature,
  10. back-trail

Origin of back-street

First recorded in 1895–1900

back street

noun

a street apart from the main or business area of a town.
Compare side street.

Origin of back street

First recorded in 1630–40

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for back-street


Idioms and Phrases with back-street

back street

Also, back alley. A less prominent or inferior location; also, a scene of clandestine or illegal dealings. For example, The highway department is very slow to clear snow from the back streets, or Before they were made legal, abortions were often performed in back alleys. Although back street literally means “one away from the main or business area of a town or city,” this term, from the early 1600s, became associated with underhanded dealings, and back alley, from the mid-1800s, is always used in this sense.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.