- a street, road, or alley that closes at one end.
- a dead end.
- a strategy or technique that, at first glance, appears helpful but does not have the expected results.
- a position without hope of progress or success.
- I’ve been researching this problem for days, and I think I’m in a blind alley. There doesn’t seem to be any way around it.
- We took a wrong turn halfway through the project, and now we’re in a blind alley.
- It seems like no matter what I do, it just leads me down a blind alley.
- She had been walking down the wrong road for so long that she couldn’t find her way out of the blind alley she was in.
- I thought I had a good idea, but it turned out to be a dead end and just led me down a blind alley.
- He wanted to start his own business but eventually found himself in a blind alley without any options left.
- The most recent scientific hypothesis about time travel may turn out to be a blind alley.
- I’m not going to believe your experiment this time; it always goes down a blind alley.
The idiom “blind alley” originated in the 17th century. It was initially used to describe a literal cul-de-sac, or dead end, but it later evolved to represent any hopeless situation or endeavor. It is derived from the French term “allee coupee,” which translates literally to “cut-off way.” This phrase was popularized by poet and playwright Pierre Corneille in a 1651 tragedy, which is thought to be the earliest appearance of the term. The phrase is still widely used today in both spoken English and writing. It can be used when describing any situation that has no foreseeable resolution or offers a way out. A blind alley can also be used metaphorically to describe a person’s life or a certain course of action that will lead nowhere.
The expression “blind alley” is a reminder to pay attention to the situation, actions, and results of our choices. It can also be a motivation to avoid making bad decisions and reach success. The phrase was likely derived from the literal meaning of an alley with no exits, resulting in those who enter it being unable to find their way out. This same idea is used metaphorically to describe a person’s life or a certain course of action that will lead nowhere. This phrase serves as a reminder to be aware of circumstances and avoid getting stuck in a difficult situation with no means of escape. Despite its old age, “blind alley” remains relevant today as a warning to avoid dead ends in both literal and figurative senses.
See also: up a blind alley