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Back street

a street apart from the main or business area of a town.
taking place in secrecy and often illegally:
back-street political maneuvering; back-street drug dealing.
Historical Examples

While she stood at the window, mechanically looking out, the dreary view of the back street trembled and disappeared.
Heart and Science Wilkie Collins

Then they crossed a vacant lot and came out on a back street.
The Putnam Hall Champions Arthur M. Winfield

One evening at dusk, as Judge Priest was going home alone from the courthouse, on a back street he came face to face with Emanuel.
Old Judge Priest Irvin S. Cobb

It was Lisette, the girl whom he had met when in hiding in that back street in Genoa.
Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo William Le Queux

Their drive was finished in silence, and they pulled up before a handsome, though somewhat sombre-looking house in a back street.
A Monk of Cruta E. Phillips Oppenheim

Doust and Castell came about six o’clock to the back street.
The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley

John laughed again, but he turned off the lights, thinking to drive away the few who were still lingering in the back street.
The Christian Hall Caine

“There is Mr. Hill coming along the back street on Daniel,” she said, pausing.
Horace Chase Constance Fenimore Woolson

For he and his family must live on a back street in the capital and freeze.
The Red Mouse William Hamilton Osborne

I dined quietly in my hotel, a small tavern in a back street.
The International Spy Allen Upward

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.


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  • Backstretch

    the straight part of a race track opposite the part leading to the finish line. Contemporary Examples As the field thundered down the backstretch, Espinoza steered his horse out wide. Why California Chrome’s Fairy Tale Didn’t End Happily Ever After Michael Fensom June 7, 2014 Historical Examples Around the turn going into the backstretch, Worth […]

  • Backstroke

    a backhanded stroke. Swimming. a stroke made while on one’s back. a blow or stroke in return; recoil. Swimming. to swim the backstroke: She backstroked across the pool. Contemporary Examples Watch her steal the show in the 100-meter backstroke Monday. London Olympics’ Must-See Moments The Daily Beast Video July 31, 2012 Historical Examples “C” some […]

  • Backswept

    slanting backward or away from the front. Aeronautics, sweptback. adjective slanting backwards another word for sweptback

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