right up your alley/street [literal meaning]


There're these idioms:

down/up your alley (AE)

up your street (BE)

I'd like to know what they literally mean. I know what their idiomatic meaning is, but why do the mean what they mean? The etymology, that is.

  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Here's what one site has to say:
    There is no definite origin of the expression although the first recorded usage of the metaphorical usage of the American expression dates to 1931. It can be found in M.E. Gilman’s Sob Sister v.65 and reads “it’s about time a good murder broke, and this one is right up your alley.”

    The first usage of the British English expression can be traced back earlier than its American equivalent to the year 1929. This can be found in the Publishers’ Weekly magazine and reads “A great many of the books published today are, as the saying is, right up her street.”
    We can guess about something being easy if you don't have to go away from home to deal with etc. but chances are it's one of those thinks that will never be answered to your satisfaction:D

    For a similar idiom try in someone's wheelhouse - Wiktionary