back street

See synonyms for back street on
  1. a street apart from the main or business area of a town.

Origin of back street

First recorded in 1630–40

Words Nearby back street

Other definitions for back-street (2 of 2)

[ bak-street ]

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

Origin of back-street

First recorded in 1895–1900 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use back street in a sentence

  • His carriage was brought round to a private door, in a back street; and Ripperda was at last persuaded to enter it.

  • Philip Burr led them into a back street, where his own handsome automobile was placed at their service.

    The Double Four | E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Personally, he was subjected to no further annoyance, and soon forgot that unpleasant experience in the back-street.

    The Secret Glory | Arthur Machen
  • That means the frontage will have to be in the little back street behind, on the shady side.

    Dry Fish and Wet | Anthon Bernhard Elias Nilsen
  • The journalists melted away, and Foyle presently found himself in a dingy back street where the local police station was situated.

    The Grell Mystery | Frank Froest

British Dictionary definitions for backstreet


/ (ˈbækˌstriːt) /

  1. a street in a town remote from the main roads

  2. (modifier) denoting illicit activities regarded as likely to take place in such a street: a backstreet abortion

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

Other 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.