There are 2 main definitions of alley in English:

Share this entry

alley 1

Syllabification: al·ley

noun (plural alleys)

1A narrow passageway between or behind buildings.
Example sentences
  • As you walk along narrow alleys, there is a chance that you will see a door and behind it a gondola, or a harpsichord, a fresco or a baroque orchestra rehearsing for an evening concert.
  • In the shadows of the fine buildings where they work, in the lanes and alleys behind the great houses of the wealthy, is another more dangerous city.
  • Away from boulevards and cafes, away from lights and crowds, he lived among the narrow, twisting alleys.
1.1A path lined with trees, bushes, or stones. Compare with allée.
Example sentences
  • Down an alley lined with trees, shadowy even in the summer heat, stood a little white villa amid a wild garden.
  • The route is a fascinating medley of cobbled paths, alleys, fortified walls, and gardens.
  • Driving out I passed through rolling land with farms and forests and so many alleys of trees.
1.2 [with modifier] A long, narrow area in which games such as bowling are played.
Example sentences
  • The daytime activities are free and there will be something for everyone including a mobile skittle alley and a bouncy castle.
  • I couldn't find the old skittle alley, but thankfully they still have a bar.
  • The club offers live music and cabaret acts, a bar, a skittle alley, a function room seating more than 100 people, and various other attractions.
1.3 Tennis , North American Either of the two areas of the court between the doubles sideline and the singles or service sideline.
Example sentences
  • He is just following the tread marks and signs on the tennis alley.
  • At 4.5 feet, it is exactly the width of a tennis alley.
1.4 Baseball The area between the outfielders in left center or right center field.
Example sentences
  • In Wrigley Field, the alley in right-center is a more forgiving 368 feet.
  • The Giants need to push back the power alleys, especially in right field -- the one point that juts out to 420 feet doesn't count.
  • The 315-foot left field line and short alleys have turned Houston baseball into a nightly slugging contest.


(right) up one's alley
informal Well suited to one’s tastes, interests, or abilities: this job would be right up your alley
More example sentences
  • This kind of issue is right up her alley, so you should really check it out and see insights she has for you.
  • But, by the time Angelina was 11, she had realized that acting was right up her alley, too.
  • As a broadcasting and graphics design double major the underwriting position is right up his alley.


Late Middle English: from Old French alee 'walking or passage', from aler 'go', from Latin ambulare 'to walk'.

Words that rhyme with alley

Ali, Allie, Ally, bally, dally, dilly-dally, farfalle, galley, Halley, mallee, Mexicali, pally, Raleigh, rally, reveille, sally, tally, valley
Definition of alley in:
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of alley in English:

Share this entry
alley 2 Syllabification: al·ley
(also ally)

noun (plural alleys)

A toy marble made of marble, alabaster, or glass.
Example sentences
  • To shoot correctly you held the marble between the thumb and forefinger and by flicking the thumb you propelled the alley forward, at great speed.
  • It became a game to find treasures for the box: an imitation pearl brooch the next summer, a cat's eye alley marble added the year I was nine, a few copper coins and a string of Indian beads when I was ten or eleven.


Early 18th century: perhaps a diminutive of alabaster.

Definition of alley in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources