from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A narrow street or passageway between or behind city buildings.
  • n. A path between flower beds or trees in a garden or park.
  • n. Sports A straight narrow course or track, especially a bowling alley.
  • n. Sports Either of the parallel lanes at the sides of a tennis court, which widen the inbounds area for doubles play.
  • idiom up (one's) alley Informal Compatible with one's interests or qualifications: an assignment that is right up your alley.
  • n. Games A large playing marble, often used as the shooter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A narrow street or passageway, especially one through the middle of a block giving access to the rear of lots or buildings.
  • n. The area between the outfielders, the gap.
  • n. An establishment where bowling is played; bowling alley.
  • n. The extra area between the sidelines or tramlines on a tennis court that is used for doubles matches.
  • n. A glass marble or taw.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A narrow passage; especially a walk or passage in a garden or park, bordered by rows of trees or bushes; a bordered way.
  • n. A narrow passage or way in a city, as distinct from a public street.
  • n. A passageway between rows of pews in a church.
  • n. Any passage having the entrance represented as wider than the exit, so as to give the appearance of length.
  • n. The space between two rows of compositors' stands in a printing office.
  • n. A choice taw or marble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A passage; especially, a narrow passage.
  • n. A narrow passage or way in a town, as distinct from a public street. In a printing-office, the space between two rows of composing-stands, in which compositors work at the cases on the stands.
  • n. A choice taw or large playing-marble. Also spelled ally.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a lane down which a bowling ball is rolled toward pins
  • n. a narrow street with walls on both sides


Middle English alei, from Old French alee, from aler, to walk, from Latin ambulāre; see ambulate.
Short for alabaster.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman and Old French alee, feminine of ale, past participle of aler ("to go") (French aller), from Gaulish *elu, alu (compare Welsh el 'he may go'), from Proto-Indo-European *el- (compare Old English ile ("footsole"), Ancient Greek eláein ("to drive"), Armenian eł ("climbed, came out")). See also allée. (Wiktionary)
Diminutive of alabaster. (Wiktionary)


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