I realized I've been using the term for years but never realized that taken literally, it makes no sense.

"Alley" - other than the word alley, I have no idea what this could refer to.

"oop" - most likely a shortened version of hoop?

Is it a shortened version of another phrase?

1 Answer 1


"Alley-Oop" appears to have originated from the French term, "Allez Hop." "Allez Hop" is the "cry" made prior to the jumping of an acrobat in a circus(1).

"Alley-Oop" was used in the NFL during the 1950s with respect to the San Francisco 49ers, describing an arching pass in which taller receivers caught the ball over smaller defenders(1).

Though its origins were not etched in basketball, basketball adopted this term and is used today to describe a basketball player making a basket while catching the ball in mid-air(2).

Alley-Oop History

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