What does alley mean?

Definitions for alley
ˈæl ial·ley

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word alley.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. alley, alleyway, back streetnoun

    a narrow street with walls on both sides

  2. bowling alley, alley, skittle alleynoun

    a lane down which a bowling ball is rolled toward pins

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Alleynoun

    Etymology: allée, Fr.

    And all within were walks and alleys wide,
    With footing worn, and leading inward far. Fairy Queen.

    It is common from experience, that where alleys are close gravelled, the earth putteth forth the first year knotgrass, and after spiregrass. Francis Bacon, Natural History, №. 565.

    Yonder alleys green,
    Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown. Parad. Lost.

    Come, my fair love, our morning’s task we lose;
    Some labour ev’n the easiest life would choose:
    Ours is not great: the dangling bows to crop,
    Whose too luxuriant growth our alleys stop. Dryden.

    The thriving plants, ignoble broomsticks made,
    Now sweep those alleys they were born to shade. Alexander Pope.

    A back friend, a shoulder clapper, one that commands
    The passages of alleys, creeks, and narrow lands. William Shakespeare, Comedy of Errours.


  1. Alley

    An alley or alleyway is a narrow lane, path, or passageway, often reserved for pedestrians, which usually runs between, behind, or within buildings in the older parts of towns and cities. It is also a rear access or service road (back lane), or a path, walk, or avenue (French allée) in a park or garden.A covered alley or passageway, often with shops, may be called an arcade. The origin of the word alley is late Middle English, from Old French: alee "walking or passage", from aller "to go", from Latin: ambulare "to walk".


  1. alley

    An alley is a narrow street or passageway, often located between or behind buildings, typically in a city. It is often used for deliveries, garbage collection, or access to outbuildings, usually not intended for general traffic flow. In some regions, it can also refer to a small, grassy field or a pedestrian walkway within a park or garden.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Alleynoun

    a narrow passage; especially a walk or passage in a garden or park, bordered by rows of trees or bushes; a bordered way

  2. Alleynoun

    a narrow passage or way in a city, as distinct from a public street

  3. Alleynoun

    a passageway between rows of pews in a church

  4. Alleynoun

    any passage having the entrance represented as wider than the exit, so as to give the appearance of length

  5. Alleynoun

    the space between two rows of compositors' stands in a printing office

  6. Alleynoun

    a choice taw or marble

  7. Etymology: [OE. aley, alley, OF. ale, F. alle, a going, passage, fr. OE. aler, F. aller, to go; of uncertain origin: cf. Prov. anar, It. andare, Sp. andar.]


  1. Alley

    An alley or alleyway is a narrow lane found in urban areas, often for pedestrians only, which usually runs between or behind buildings. In older cities and towns in Europe, alleys are often what is left of a medieval street network, or a right of way or ancient footpath in an urban setting. In older urban development, alleys were built to allow for deliveries such as coal to the rear of houses. Alleys may be paved, or simply dirt tracks. A blind alley has no outlet at one end and is thus a cul-de-sac. Many modern urban developments do not incorporate alleys, but some may provide a service road to allow for waste collection, or rear access for fire engines and parking. Andrés Duany, American architect and urban planner, has long espoused the use of alleys as leading to a better integration of automobile and foot traffic in a neighborhood.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Alley

    al′li, n. a walk in a garden or shrubbery: a passage in a city narrower than a street: a long narrow enclosure for playing at bowls or skittles:—pl. All′eys. [O. Fr. alee (Fr. allée), a passage, from aller, to go, O. Fr. aner, most prob. from L. adnāre, to go to by water, or aditāre, adīre.]

  2. Alley

    Ally, al′li, n. a name given by boys to a choice taw or large marble. [Contraction of alabaster, of which it was originally made.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. ALLEY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Alley is ranked #2529 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Alley surname appeared 14,323 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 5 would have the surname Alley.

    92.3% or 13,220 total occurrences were White.
    2.6% or 377 total occurrences were Black.
    1.9% or 278 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.8% or 258 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.6% or 96 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    0.6% or 95 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce alley?

How to say alley in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of alley in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of alley in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of alley in a Sentence

  1. Erik Pevernagie:

    The past becomes our second personality. It is our intrinsic safety code, irrespective of a potential love-hate relationship. It may become our guardian angel and protect us from a bleak blind alley, since it knows that “we” know and we know the colors of its cards. Experience is a tough master and knows the tricks of the trade. It teaches us how to play. ( " Not without the past" )

  2. Pete Rose Rose:

    I enjoy talking baseball, and that's what this is all about, enjoying the game of baseball, sitting in the green room watching two or three games, getting on TV and talking about it. It's right up my alley, I think.

  3. Gunther Krichbaum:

    We are talking with Britain and I love Britain and want to keep talking to them, But when the rhetoric is driving you at 100 miles per hour up a blind alley, you have to realize that you won't be able to turn round at the end of the blind alley.

  4. Miranda Lambert:

    Reese texted me and told me about the movie and wanted me to write something or sing or both. I got inspired, it was a bit of a Thelma and Louise theme and that's totally up my alley. It is really so fun to be part of it.

  5. Martin Mull:

    Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for alley

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"alley." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/alley>.

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    come out into view, as from concealment
    • A. doom
    • B. inspire
    • C. emerge
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