Meaning of WAY in English
I. way 1 S1 W1 /weɪ/ BrE AmE noun
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ way , ↑ subway ; adverb : ↑ midway , ↑ way ; adjective : ↑ midway ]
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: weg ]
1 . METHOD [countable] a method that you use to do or achieve something:
There are several different ways we can tackle this problem.
way of doing something
Evening classes are one way of meeting new people.
There’s no way of knowing if the treatment will work.
way to do something
What’s the best way to learn a language?
in the same way/in various ways
Make the drink with boiling water in the same way as tea.
Animals communicate in various ways.
(in) the right/wrong way
I think you’re going about this the wrong way.
ways and means (=methods of doing something, especially ones that are secret or not yet decided)
There are ways and means of raising the money that we need.
way out/out of/around
One way around the problem (=method of dealing with it) is recycling.
There seems to be no way out of the current economic crisis.
way into television/publishing/finance etc (=a method of getting involved in a particular activity or type of work)
companies eager for a way into business in Europe
2 . MANNER [countable] the manner or style in which someone does something or in which something happens:
Look at the way he’s dressed!
in a ... way
‘Hello,’ he said in a friendly way.
Maria got up and took a shower in a leisurely way.
(in) this/that way
I find it easier to work in this way (=like this) .
Sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way (=had that feeling or opinion) .
The drugs didn’t seem to affect Anna in the same way.
that’s no way to do something (=used to tell someone that they should not be doing something in a particular manner)
That’s no way to speak to your father!
in more ways than one (=in a number of ways)
The changes will benefit the company in more ways than one.
in sb’s (own) way (=in a personal way that other people may not recognize)
I’m sure he does love you, in his own way.
3 . DIRECTION/HOW TO GO SOMEWHERE [countable]
a) a road, path, direction etc that you take in order to get to a particular place
the way to/from/out etc
Which is the quickest way to the sea from here?
There are several ways through the woods.
ask/tell/show somebody the way
Could you tell me the way to the station?
Does anyone know the way from here?
I was afraid of losing my way in the dark.
Can you find your way back to the car park?
the way out (=the door, path etc which you can use to leave a building or area)
Which is the way out?
the way in (=the door, path etc which you can use to enter a building or area)
She looked all around, but she couldn’t seem to find the way in.
on sb’s way (=in the same direction as someone is going)
Want a lift? It’s on my way.
out of sb’s way (=not in the same direction as someone is going)
I live miles out of your way.
b) a particular direction from where you are now:
Which way is north?
Walk this way.
A big Mercedes was coming the other way (=from the opposite direction) .
He left the house, looking carefully both ways.
4 . PART OF SOMETHING THAT IS TRUE [countable] used to say that there is a fact or a feature of something that makes a statement or description true
in a/one way
In one way you’re right, I suppose.
in some/many ways
Working at home makes sense, in many ways.
Ben is a perfectly normal child in every way.
He never got mad at me. He was great in that way.
in no way (=used to emphasize that something is not true)
This should in no way be seen as a defeat.
5 . DISTANCE/TIME [singular] a distance or a length of time, especially a long one:
I was still a long way from home.
some way/quite a way (=quite a long distance)
She had to park some way from the restaurant.
a long way off/away/ahead etc (=far away in distance or in time)
A peace settlement now seems a long way off.
I don’t want to go all that way and not see him.
all the way down/across/through etc (something) (=the full distance or length of something)
Did you really swim all the way across?
I was awake all through the night.
a (long) ways American English :
That’s quite a ways from here, isn’t it?
6 . THE SPACE IN FRONT OF YOU [countable usually singular] if someone or something is in the way, they are blocking the space in front of you, and you cannot move forward
be in the way/be in sb’s way (=be blocking a road, someone’s path etc so that they cannot move forward easily)
There was a big truck in the way.
Sorry, am I in your way?
A policeman yelled at the crowds to get out of the way.
The way ahead was blocked.
7 . make way (for something/somebody)
a) to move to the side so that there is space for someone or something to pass:
The crowd stepped aside to make way for the procession.
b) to make it possible for something newer or better to be built, organized etc:
Several houses were demolished to make way for a new road.
8 . out of the way
a) ( also out of sb’s way ) if someone or something is out of the way, they are somewhere where they are not likely to cause a problem, need attention, be annoying etc
move/put/push etc something out of the way
Why don’t you tie your hair back, out of the way?
If Uncle Tom had been drinking, I kept out of his way.
When Mac was safely out of the way, Peter came round.
b) if a particular matter, job etc is out of the way, it has been done or dealt with:
I’d rather get the interview out of the way in the morning.
As soon as the contract’s out of the way, we can start.
c) a place that is out of the way is far from any towns
9 . on the/your/its way
a) arriving or happening soon:
There’s a letter on its way to you.
More changes are on the way.
b) travelling towards a particular place:
She should be on the way here by now.
on the/your/its way to
The ships were already on their way to the gulf
c) while going from one place to another
on the/your/its way to/out/home etc
I ran out of gas on my way to the airport.
Guess who I bumped into on the way home.
d) ( also along the way ) while moving from one situation or part of your life to another:
Don’s had to change jobs several times along the way.
e) if someone has a baby on the way, they are ↑ pregnant
10 . be under way
a) to have started to happen or be done:
Plans are well under way for a new shopping centre.
The tournament got under way on Friday.
b) to have started to move or travel somewhere:
Our train was already under way.
11 . make your way
a) to go towards something, especially when this is difficult or takes a long time
make your way to/through/towards etc
The team slowly made their way back to base.
make your own way (home/to something etc) (=go somewhere without the help or company of other people)
Don’t worry. I can make my own way to the beach.
b) to gradually become successful in a particular job, activity, profession etc:
young people who are making their way in industry
12 . push/grope/inch etc your way somewhere to get somewhere by using force or moving carefully:
She elbowed her way to the front of the queue.
He drank some water, then groped his way back to the bedroom.
13 . give way
a) to be replaced by something else
give way to
Stone has given way to glass and concrete.
My anger gave way to depression.
b) to agree to do what someone else wants, instead of what you want, especially after a lot of discussion or argument:
Despite growing pressure, the Minister of State refused to give way.
give way to
Maria seemed to despise him for giving way to her.
c) to break because of too much weight or pressure:
The floor’s rotten and likely to give way.
d) British English to stop or slow down when you are driving, in order to allow other vehicles to go first SYN yield American English :
In Britain, give way to cars coming from the right.
14 . clear/pave/open/prepare etc the way (for something) to make it possible for something to happen or develop later:
a study that paved the way for further research
The Queen’s death opened the way for him to return.
15 . a/the way forward an action, plan etc that seems a good idea because it is likely to lead to success:
A way forward lies in developing more economic links.
a/the way forward for
This treatment may be the way forward for many inherited disorders.
16 . STATE/CONDITION [singular] a particular state or condition:
My family was in a bad way financially.
The chicken’s nice and crispy – just the way I like it.
It’s worth thinking how you can improve the way things are.
somebody was born/made that way (=used to say that someone’s character is not likely to change)
He’ll always be mean – he was born that way.
17 . FACT/EVENT [singular] used to refer to something that happens:
I hate the way you always give in to him.
18 . BEHAVIOUR [countable] someone’s typical style of behaving, especially when it seems different or unusual
be (just) sb’s way
Don’t worry if she’s quiet – that’s just her way.
Esther quickly changed the subject, as was her way.
strange/funny/odd etc ways
We all have our funny little ways.
change/mend your ways (=stop behaving badly) ⇨ see the error of your ways at ↑ error (6), ⇨ be set in your ways at ↑ set 3 (6)
19 . DEVELOPMENT/PROGRESS [singular] used in expressions about developing and improving:
The team has a long way to go (=needs to develop or improve a lot) before it can match that performance.
Microwave ovens have come a long way (=have developed or improved a lot) since they first appeared in our kitchens.
Jen is now well on the way to recovery (=she has improved and will be well soon) .
20 . go some way towards doing something also go a long way towards doing something to help a little or a lot to make something happen:
ideas that go some way towards reducing environmental problems
21 . CHOICES/POSSIBILITIES [countable] used when talking about two choices someone could make, or two possibilities that could happen:
I’m not sure which way he’ll decide.
The election could go either way (=both results are equally possible) .
Make your mind up one way or the other.
either way (=used to say that something will be the same, whichever of two things happens)
Either way, it’s going to be expensive.
22 . within two feet/ten years etc either way no more than two feet etc more or less than a particular amount:
Your answer must be within a centimetre either way.
23 . (in) one way or another/one way or the other used to say that someone does or will do something somehow, although you are not sure how:
One way or the other he always seems to win
We’ll find the money, one way or another.
24 . way around/round/up a particular order or position that something should be in:
Which way around does this skirt go?
the other way around/round/up (=in the opposite order or position)
The picture should be the other way up.
Art reflects life, or is it the other way around (=is it ‘life reflects art’) ?
the right/wrong way around/round/up
Are the batteries in the wrong way round?
25 . by way of something
a) ( also in the way of something ) as a form or means of something:
I’d like to say something by way of introduction.
little in the way of something (also not much/enough in the way of something) (=not much of something)
The town has little in the way of leisure facilities.
b) if you travel by way of a place, you go through it SYN via :
We went by way of London.
26 . get in the way of something to prevent someone from doing something, or prevent something from happening:
Your social life must not get in the way of your studies.
27 . go out of your way to do something to do something with more effort than is usual or expected:
She went out of her way to make me feel welcome.
28 . get/have your (own) way to do what you want to, even though someone else wants something different:
Don’t let the children always get their own way.
29 . go your own way to do what you want, make your own decisions etc:
At 18, most young people are ready to go their own way.
30 . go sb’s way
a) if an event goes your way, it happens in the way you want:
The government are hopeful that the vote will go their way.
everything/nothing goes sb’s way (=used to talk about events in general)
b) literary to continue a journey, or to leave and do what you want to do next:
She said goodbye and went her way.
c) to travel in the same direction as someone:
I can take you – I’m going your way.
31 . come sb’s way if something comes your way, you get or experience it, especially by chance:
Luck had come her way at the very last moment.
32 . in a big/small way used to talk about the degree to which something happens, or how important it is:
The business was a success, in a small way.
33 . by a long way by a large amount:
He was the best in the group by a long way.
34 . talk/buy etc your way into/past etc something/somebody to get where you want or achieve something you want by saying or doing something:
Caroline managed to talk her way past the guard.
35 . work/munch/smoke etc your way through something to deal with, eat, smoke etc a large amount of things:
He worked his way through the pile of documents.
She had munched her way through a packet of biscuits.
36 . be on the/your way out to be becoming less popular, important, powerful etc:
Is the royal family on the way out?
37 . across/over the way on the opposite side of the street:
They live across the way from us at number 23.
38 . have a way of doing something used to say that something often or usually happens:
Cheer up – these problems have a way of working out.
39 . get into the way of doing something British English to start to do something regularly:
He’d got into the way of smoking first thing in the morning.
40 . not in any way, shape, or form used to emphasize that something is not true:
I am not responsible for his actions in any way, shape, or form.
41 . split something two/three etc ways ( also divide something two/three etc ways ) to divide something into two, three etc equal parts:
We’ll split the cost between us five ways.
42 . have a way with somebody/something to be especially good at dealing with people or things of a particular type:
David seems to have a way with children.
She’s always had a way with words (=been good at using words effectively) .
43 . the way of the world how things always happen or are done, especially when this is not easy to change:
In those days these policies favoured men. That was the way of the world.
44 . every which way informal
a) in all directions:
Bullets were flying every which way.
b) British English every possible method:
I tried every which way to avoid it.
45 . Way used in the names of roads:
• • •
46 . by the way used when saying something that is not related to the main subject you were talking about before:
By the way, have you seen my keys anywhere?
47 . no way!
a) used to say that you will definitely not do or allow something:
‘Can I borrow your car?’ ‘No way!’
There’s no way I’ll ever get married again.
no way José! (=used to emphasize that you will not do something)
b) especially American English used to say that you do not believe something or are very surprised by it:
She’s 45? No way!
48 . the way I see it also to my way of thinking used before telling someone your opinion:
The way I see it, it was a fair trade.
49 . that’s the way used to tell someone that they are doing something correctly or well, especially when you are showing them how:
Now bring your foot gently off the clutch – that’s the way.
50 . that’s (just) the way something/somebody is/that’s (just) the way something goes used to say that a particular situation or person cannot be changed:
Don’t try to fight it. That’s just the way it is.
Sometimes Tim needs to be alone. That’s the way he is.
51 . be with somebody all the way to agree with someone completely:
I’m with you all the way on this salary issue, Joe.
52 . if I had my way used when telling someone what you think it would be best to do:
If I had my way, we’d leave this place tomorrow.
53 . have it your (own) way used to tell someone in an annoyed way that you will agree to what they want
54 . (there are) no two ways about it used to say that something is definitely true, especially something unpleasant
55 . you can’t have it both ways used to say that you cannot have the advantages from both of two different possible decisions or actions:
It’s a choice between the time and the money – you can’t have it both ways!
56 . way to go! American English used to tell someone that they have done something very well or achieved something special
57 . (that’s/it’s) always the way! British English used to say that things always happen in the way that is least convenient:
The train was late – always the way when you’re in a hurry!
58 . down your/London etc way in your area, the area of London etc
59 . go all the way (with somebody) to have sex with someone
⇨ ↑ halfway , ↑ one-way , ↑ right of way , ↑ two-way , ⇨ that’s the way the cookie crumbles at ↑ cookie (3), ⇨ cut both ways at ↑ cut 1 (36), ⇨ in the family way at ↑ family (7), ⇨ go the way of all flesh at ↑ flesh 1 (9), ⇨ go your separate ways at ↑ separate 1 (4), ⇨ know your way around (something) at ↑ know 1 (10), ⇨ be laughing all the way to the bank at ↑ laugh 1 (8), ⇨ lead the way at ↑ lead 1 (7), ⇨ look the other way at ↑ look 1 (9), ⇨ out of harm’s way at ↑ harm 1 (6), ⇨ parting of the ways at ↑ parting 1 (3), ⇨ pay your way at ↑ pay 1 (13), ⇨ to put it another way at ↑ put (4), ⇨ rub somebody up the wrong way at ↑ rub 1 (7), ⇨ see which way the wind is blowing at ↑ wind 1 (6), ⇨ see your way (clear) to doing something at ↑ see 1 (39), ⇨ any way you slice it at ↑ slice 2 , ⇨ stand in sb’s way at ↑ stand 1 (30), ⇨ where there’s a will there’s a way at ↑ will 2 (5), ⇨ work your way to/through etc something at ↑ work 1 (12)
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
▪ the right way
That’s not the right way to deal with the problem.
▪ the wrong way
There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.
▪ a good way
Parent and toddler groups are a good way to meet other mums.
▪ the best way
Doing the job is often regarded as the best way of learning the job.
▪ a different way
There are many different ways of borrowing money.
▪ a sure way
Improving your diet is the surest way to lower your risk of heart disease.
▪ a quick way
Wouldn’t just asking him be the quickest way to find out?
▪ an easy way
Here’s an easy way to cut up a mango.
▪ have a way
Do you have any way of finding out if that is true?
▪ find a way
We must find a way to help them.
▪ think of/devise a way
I have to think of a way to make some money.
▪ ways and means
We are discussing ways and means of bringing jobs to our area.
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)
▪ the quickest way
She knew the quickest way to the hospital.
▪ the right way
Are you sure this is the right way?
▪ the wrong way
He had ended up going the wrong way down a one-way street.
▪ ask somebody the way
He asked me the way to the police station.
▪ tell somebody the way
Can you tell me the way to the nearest post office, please?
▪ show somebody the way
If you can show me the way, I’ll take you by car.
▪ know the way
Do you know the way to Birkleigh?
▪ lose your way
He lost his way in the fog.
▪ find your way
I managed to find my way home.
• • •
■ a way of doing something
▪ way something you can do in order to achieve what you want or deal with a problem:
Visiting a country is a great way to learn a language.
a good way to lose weight
▪ method a way of doing something, especially one that a lot of people know about and use:
They still use traditional methods of farming.
modern teaching methods
Different research methods are used to gather data.
▪ approach a general way of dealing with a particular problem or situation, especially a way that has been carefully thought about:
We need a whole new approach to environmental issues.
There will be considerable advantages to adopting this approach.
▪ technique a way of doing something for which you need a skill that must be learned and practised:
I went to a class to learn relaxation techniques.
new surgical techniques
techniques for improving staff performance
▪ strategy a carefully planned way to achieve something difficult or complicated that may take a long time:
They met to discuss the company’s business strategy.
the government’s long-term strategy for reducing crime
■ how to go to a place
▪ way the road, path, direction etc that you must take in order to get to a place:
Are you sure this is the right way to the sea?
Will you come with me? I don’t know the way.
▪ route a way from one place to another that people use regularly or that is shown on a map:
There are two routes we could take but this is the quickest one.
the overland trade route between Europe and China
▪ directions instructions on how to get to a place:
Let’s stop and ask someone for directions.
If you follow these directions you’ll have no problem finding the house.
▪ short cut a way of getting somewhere that is shorter than the usual way:
Let’s take a short cut across the field.
Taxi-drivers know all the short cuts.
▪ how to get to ... especially spoken used especially when you ask someone to tell you which is the right way:
Can you tell me how to get to Grand Central Station?
It was getting dark and I wasn’t sure how to get home.
II. way 2 S2 BrE AmE adverb
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ way , ↑ subway ; adverb : ↑ midway , ↑ way ; adjective : ↑ midway ]
1 . very far
way ahead/behind/out etc
The other cyclists were way behind.
She lives way out of town.
2 . by a large amount
way above/below/past etc
Her IQ is way above average.
Your guess was way out (=completely incorrect) , he’s actually thirty-eight.
We first met way back (=a long time ago) in the seventies.
way heavier/smarter/bigger etc (=much heavier etc)
The tickets were way more expensive than I thought.
3 . American English informal very:
I think she’s way cool, man.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012