weeds behind bowling alleys


Senior Member
What is meaning of weeds behind bowling alleys in this sentence :

If thine right eye offend thee, pluck it out If it was a hard scripture, it was also sweet and good. A fitting scripture for those who lurked in the doorway shadows of onenight hotels and in the weeds behind bowling alleys.
Source : Carrie by Stephen King

Thank you
  • American English
    It's hard to tell. What is happening in the scene, and or what's the context?

    "bowling alleys" are venues/places in the USA where you "bowl" ... engage in the sport of bowling.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    It's just as the words are defined in our dictionary.

    WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
    weed1 /wid/ n.
    1. Botany[countable]an undesirable or unwanted plant growing wild, esp. one that takes food or nourishment from a crop, lawn, or flower bed.
    WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
    bowl′ing al′ley,
    • Sport a long, narrow wooden lane or alley, for the game of tenpins.
    • Sport a building or enclosed area containing a number of such lanes or alleys.
    American English
    In jacdac's defense, it's not always easy to string words together like puzzle pieces, and make sense of them, so I can understand the reason for the query. I did ask for more context in #2.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    'Weeds' has its usual meaning, the one given by the definition. The weeds indicate that the area behind the bowling alley (the building) is neglected, and thus the sort of place where people who are engaged in crime and other bad behavior would be found.

    I'm not sure whether this answers your question. It would help us give you a useful answer if you would explain why you find the use of 'weeds' puzzling.


    Senior Member
    When I looked up the meaning of bowling alley, I got the following definition which made sense:

    bowl·ing al·ley n. a long narrow track along which balls are rolled in the games of bowling (tenpin, candlepin, or duckpin) or skittles. <SPECIAL USAGE> a building containing such tracks.

    Moreover, the images of bowling alley in Google are familiar scenes of indoor bowling centres. Then, the word weeds made no longer sense. And my confusion.

    Your further help and clarification of what I am missing will be appreciated.
    American English
    ... lurked in the doorway shadows of onenight hotels and in the weeds behind bowling alleys

    It's two for one:
    ... in the doorway shadows of one-night hotels
    ... in the weeds behind bowling alleys

    It appears to be about sexual and/or drug adventures that are meant to be on the down low.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    This is the definition that makes sense in this context:
    <SPECIAL USAGE> a building containing such tracks.
    I think the problem is that we use 'bowling alley' with this meaning in ordinary speech, but that is not what the people who own these buildings call them.

    See, for instance this website The people review 'bowling alleys' -- venues for bowling -- but the venues themselves don't use that term in their name.
    Best Bowling alleys in San Francisco, CA - Yelp
    From one review:
    The dinner and drinks were good, but a little pricey. However, it's definitely better quality food than your average bowling alley.
    I hope this helps, but let me know if you still have a question.