Right up my alley
July 18, 2006 9:13 AM   Subscribe

What is the origin of the phrase "right up my (his, her, etc.) alley"??? Is it as simple as referring to being "in my neighborhood of expertise" or is there some sort of bowling reference going on? Google's letting me down here -- but maybe my search capacities are a little rusty.
posted by punkbitch to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
from answers.com: "right up one's alley. Also, right down one's alley. In one's specialty, to one's taste, as in Writing press releases is right up her alley, or He loved opera, so this program of arias was right down his alley. These idioms use alley in the sense of 'one's own province,' a usage dating from the early 1600s. [First half of 1900s] Also see cup of tea. "
posted by clarahamster at 10:06 AM on July 18, 2006

to be up a person's alley: to be up a person's street (see STREET n.). slang.
1931 M. E. GILMAN Sob Sister v. 65 It's about time a good murder broke, and this one is right up your alley. 1936 D. CARNEGIE How to win Friends IV. viii. 247 Bridge will be in a cinch for you. It is right up your alley. 1941 AUDEN New Year Let. II. p. 37 All vague idealistic art That coddles the uneasy heart, Is up his alley. [etc.]

to be up (down, in) one's street
: to be suited to someone's taste or ability.
1903 FARMER & HENLEY Slang VII. 10/1 Street.., a capacity, a method; a line: e.g. ‘That's not in my street’ = ‘I am not concerned’ or ‘That's not my way of doing,’ etc. 1929 Publishers' Weekly 21 Dec. 2813/2 A great many of the books published today are, as the saying is, right up her street. [...] 1945 E. WAUGH Brideshead Revisited II. iv. 259 She is a jolly attractive girl, the sort of girl any chap would be glad to have—artistic, too, just down your street. [etc.]
posted by languagehat at 10:15 AM on July 18, 2006

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