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Back alley

dirty, unprepossessing, sordid, or clandestine:
back-alley morals; back-alley political schemes.
Contemporary Examples

Just around the corner from stores like Chanel, Valentino, and Hermès—not exactly a back alley.
My Illegal, Flammable, Fabulous Hair Treatment Laura Bennett July 9, 2009

Historical Examples

Thus, and not in treacled cadences, intrigued Mariar and Sir Thomas in the back alley.
Ptomaine Street Carolyn Wells

He scuttled across the street; in a flash had vanished in a back alley.
The Native Son Inez Haynes Irwin

The few children whom she knew were apt to be rather quiet in her presence, but not so this lad from the back alley.
Divided Skates Evelyn Raymond

But the next afternoon when Chuck Grove whistled in our back alley and held up two fingers, I dropped the hoe and went with him.
Back Home Eugene Wood

For a year she was kept as a Slave in this resort, which was over a saloon, and the entrance was through a back alley.
Chicago’s Black Traffic in White Girls Jean Turner-Zimmermann

They rounded the turn and Bill sent the car streaking along the black road like a terrified cat up a back alley.
Dorothy Dixon Wins Her Wings Dorothy Wayne

Directly opposite him and at a distance of four or five feet was a door leading to a back alley.
The Master Mystery Arthur B. Reeve and John W. Grey

Like rival “gun gangs” in a back alley, the nations of the world, through the bloody ages, have fought over their differences.
The Art of Public Speaking Dale Carnagey (AKA Dale Carnegie) and J. Berg Esenwein

Into the back room over the back alley between the black walls had crept the Harbinger.
The Voice of the City O. Henry

noun, adjective

a place of secret or illegal dealings


: a back-alley saloon/ back-alley language

noun phrase

An alley or street in a mean and disreputable neighborhood; slum street or area (1860s+)
see under back street


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