(redirected from back-alley)
Also found in: Idioms.


(ˈbækˌstriːt) or


1. a street in a town remote from the main roads
2. (modifier) denoting illicit activities regarded as likely to take place in such a street: a backstreet abortion.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

back′ street′

a street apart from the main or business area of a town. Cf. side street.



taking place in secrecy and often illegally: backstreet political maneuvering.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


A. N the backstreets (lit) → las callejuelas; (quiet) → las calles tranquilas or apartadas del centro; (poor) → las calles de los barrios bajos
B. CPD [hotel, shop] → de barrio
backstreet abortion Naborto m clandestino
backstreet abortionist Nabortista mf clandestino/a
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


1. nvicolo
2. adj (shop, factory) → situato/a in un vicolo (fig) (shady) → losco/a
a backstreet cafe → un bar d'infima categoria
backstreet abortionist → praticante m/f di aborti clandestini
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
As they glided slowly on, keeping under the shore and sneaking in and out among the shipping by back-alleys of water, in a pilfering way that seemed to be their boatman's normal manner of progression, all the objects among which they crept were so huge in contrast with their wretched boat, as to threaten to crush it.
The moment a women shows up at hospital with a perforated uterus, indicating that she has had a back-alley abortion, she is shackled to her hospital bed and her body is treated as a crime scene.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley triggered the discussion saying she, too, is concerned some proposed restrictions had "a real potential" of forcing women into having back-alley abortions.
This led to back-alley abortions with countries including Ethiopia no longer able to offer comprehensive care for patients.
In a back-alley Bogota street market, Dorli Castaneda buys several products made from the infamous coca leaf, the base ingredient of cocaine.
Eban details back-alley sales of crates of counterfeit versions of Lipitor, Procrit, Epogen, and other drugs.
Until we do, back-alley vasectomies and other forms of desperation and lunacy will take the place of good health care and common sense.
How can we be nice to people who want to send pregnant women again to back-alley butchers, to people who want to take away necessary rights, and to people who line their pockets and the pockets of their friends through policies that are destroying the fragile ecology of our only planetary home?
Gibson contributes vibrant club showdowns and back-alley breakdance, slinky video sequences, and a hip-hop recital with fast-paced ensemble work.
But might he or she make, on the basis of good information, a prudential decision that this law would be universally disobeyed or that it would result in a tidal wave of unsafe, illegal, and back-alley abortions or that it would lead to a rash of convictions and imprisonment for women who had abortions or that the law would spawn widespread disrespect for law in general?
There is a terrifying scene of a back-alley abortion.
And back-alley abortionists, who would kill for profit, were rightly regarded as reprobates.