Bonus Trivia

Why is something in your area of specialty called “right down your alley?”


This expression originally came from the American game of baseball. In baseball, an alley is one of several paths a ball can take into the outfield which makes the ball difficult to catch. A player who feels his (or her) specialty is hitting a ball down a particular “alley” might promise to hit one ‘right down my alley.’ This phrase eventually was generalized to refer to any sort of specialty.

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One response to “Bonus Trivia

  1. Teri

    According to the The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, using the term “alley” to refer to “one’s own province” goes all the way back to the 1600s.

    As far as the exact phrase, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase “to be up alley” was documented as early as 1931 (M. E. GILMAN Sob Sister v. 65 “It’s about time a good murder broke, and this one is right up your alley.”)
    The OED also notes that “to be up street” has been in use as slang since the turn of the 20th century (and was quite common by the 1930s).

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