Posted by Lewis on November 04, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Alley posted by whozthis on November 04, 2004
: : : : Hi
: : : : Could anyone answer this question to me?
: : : : What is the meaning of *up in my alley*
: : : : Artists like Alansist and Michelle would be right up my alley
: : : : thanks
: : : Which is it, "up in my alley," which I've never heard, or "up my alley"? The directional "up" is not usually meant literally. Downtown, uptown, down the shore, up my street, up my alley, are common indicators of location. "Up the street" means farther on than some reference location, as in "up the street from my house." "Up my alley," or especially "right up my alley," means that whatever is referred to is of special interest to me, perhaps because of taste, perhaps because of expertise. SS
: : 'up my alley' - on my home turf, something pleasingly familiar.
: : 'up my street' - same, slightly more remote figuratively.
: : answering stupid questions is 'right up my street' as a know-all. when it is about music, military terms or history it is 'up my alley' and when about legal jargon it is 'right in my back yard'.
: : some say 'familiarity breeds contempt'.
: Pardon me .....but I think "Familiarity breeds contempt" means the more deeply you know people more you tend to dislike them. This phrase is a very good indicator of the fact that a respectable distance from everyone is best....the more you know ..... the more mistakes you tend to figure out in the person.
: Coming back to the point "Familiarity breeds contempt" has no connection to the phrase "up my alley".
this thread wasn't up your street, was it?
something being - "up..alley, in..street, in..backyard" - are all expressions of familiarity.
familiarity breeds contempt is another view of familiarity. connection spotted?
familiarity breeds contempt is usually used quite differently from how you suggest. there is the problem of a prophet being without honour in his home town - that people who know you well are not so inclined to recognise the exceptional in you - but that is not 'contempt'.
FBC is mainly about a person being familiar with objects, techniques, processes etc that appear difficult or for example, dangers. an high-wire electrical engineer does not get freaked by the threat of 50,000 volts, nor does an aquarium worker get worried by the proximity of a shark. what look like great dangers to lay people, can appear routine to professionals - even threatening abstracts uch as the law can be seen as non-threatening if you are used to them. I have rarely heard FBC applied to people, but mainly to situations.
'familiarity' in the phrase usually means experience and 'contempt' often means freedom from fear or wonder.
I laugh in the face of fear and I tweak the nose of danger. FBC.