up one alley


1 [al-ee]
noun, plural alleys.
a passage, as through a continuous row of houses, permitting access from the street to backyards, garages, etc.
a narrow back street.
a walk, as in a garden, enclosed with hedges or shrubbery.
a long, narrow, wooden lane or floor along which the ball is rolled.
(often plural) a building for bowling.
Tennis. the space on each side of a tennis court between the doubles sideline and the service or singles sideline.
Rare. an aisle.
up/down one's alley, Informal. in keeping with or satisfying one's abilities, interests, or tastes: If you like science fiction, this book will be right up your alley.

1350–1400; Middle English al(e)y < Middle French alee walk, passage, derivative of feminine of ale, past participle of aler to walk (French aller), probably < Vulgar Latin *allārī, regularized from allātus, the suppletive past participle of afferre to bring (passive afferrī to be moved, conveyed, to betake oneself); French aller often allegedly < Latin ambulāre to walk (see amble), but this offers grave phonetic problems, since the m and b would not normally be lost

2. See street.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
alley1 (ˈælɪ)
1.  a narrow lane or passage, esp one between or behind buildings
2.  See bowling alley
3.  chiefly (US) tennis the space between the singles and doubles sidelines
4.  a walk in a park or garden, esp one lined with trees or bushes
5.  up one's alley, down one's alley See street
[C14: from Old French alee, from aler to go, ultimately from Latin ambulāre to walk]

alley2 (ˈælɪ)
a large playing marble
[C18: shortened and changed from alabaster]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "passage in a house, covered way, walk in a garden," from O.Fr. alee (Mod.Fr. alée), from ale, fem. pp. of aler "to go," which ultimately may be a contraction of L. ambulare "to walk," or a back-formation from L. allatus "having been brought to." Applied c.1400 to "long narrow enclosure
for playing at bowls, skittles, etc." The meaning "passage between buildings" is from c.1510; the word also is applied in Amer.Eng. to what in London is called a mews. To be up someone's alley "in someone's neighborhood" (lit. or fig.) is from 1931; alley-cat first attested 1904.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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