blind alley

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The notion of ‘blindness’ comes from the lack of a through passage (the ‘eye’). Attested since 1583, and used figuratively since the mid-19th century.[1]


blind alley (plural blind alleys)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see blind,‎ alley. A street or passageway that leads nowhere.
  2. (figuratively) A course of inquiry that leads nowhere.
    • 2018 June 18, Phil McNulty, “Tunisia 1 - 1 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Sterling was grateful that a glaring miss from Lingard's pass was rescued by a linesman's flag against the Manchester United midfielder, but he almost tried too hard as the game progressed and was running up blind alleys before he was replaced by Marcus Rashford after 68 minutes.




  1. ^ Up a blind alley” in Gary Martin, The Phrase Finder, 1997–, retrieved 26 February 2017.