Meaning of WAY in English


I. ˈwā noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English way, wey, from Old English weg; akin to Old High German weg way, Old Norse vegr, Gothic wigs way, Old English wegan to move, Latin vehere to carry, Greek ochein to carry, ochos carriage, Sanskrit vahati he carries, pulls


a. : a thoroughfare used or designed for traveling or transportation from place to place : path , road , street

rough uneven ways — Shakespeare

the garagemen across the way — William Faulkner

expressways or limited access ways of the best modern type — S.J.Williams

the Appian Way

b. : a band of light in the night sky resembling a road

c. : an opening for passing through

this door is the only way into the room

d. : the roadway of a railroad

permanent way

2. : that along which one passes to reach some place : the track traveled by a person or thing in his or its progress or passage : the course of travel from one place to another : route

asked the way to the museum

pupils will find their own way to school — Deerfield (Wisc.) Independent

the way of a ship in the midst of the sea — Prov 30:19 (Authorized Version)

in the streets the unfortunate foot traveler still picked his way through the muck — J.W.Krutch

take a flashlight to light your way to the barn

going your way and will be glad to give you a lift


a. : a nonspatial course (as a series of actions or sequence of events) leading in a stated or implied direction or toward a stated or implied objective

cleared the way for a more purely rational interpretation of the world — M.F.A.Montagu

smooth the way for statehood — Current Biography

his entering upon the way of salvation — Catherine Rau

point the way to the discovery of new facts — F.A.Geldard


(1) : a course of action

my best way is to creep under his gaberdine — Shakespeare

take the easy way out

(2) obsolete : the best or most desirable course of action

it is our way , if we will keep in favor with the King, to be her men and wear her livery — Shakespeare

(3) : the opportunity, capability, or fact of doing as one pleases

had made up his mind, and in the end he had his way — Ellen Glasgow

for any one group to get its way — T.V.Smith

gets the heroine alone in a bedroom and … has his way with her — Time

time has its way with you — Vachel Lindsay

c. : a possible decision, action, or outcome : possibility

no way but this — killing myself, to die upon a kiss — Shakespeare

there were no two ways about it — this was the rudest, surliest, most ill-mannered town on the face of the earth — Hamilton Basso


a. : the mode in which something is done or happens : manner , method , style

win him over to our way of thinking — A.J.Ayer

societies whose way of life seemed so different from that of our own people — Edward Sapir

manipulate ideas in an original way — Vance Packard

her way of doing her hair

these two books, each admirable in its way — Geographical Journal

one's character is defined by the way in which the rules are embodied in one's behavior — Margaret Mead

— often used as the principal word in an adverbial phrase with no preposition

the people who think this way — D.W.Brogan

learn the full meaning of independence the hard way — Augusta Baker

— often used with and modified by an adjective clause containing no relative pronoun or other introductory word

insight into the way the mind actually works — C.I.Glicksberg

that's the way things go

so that's the way you do it

b. : aspect , feature , respect , point — used as the principal word in an adverbial phrase with in as introductory preposition

people who can in no way be classed as criminals — D.W.Maurer & V.H.Vogel

or sometimes with no preposition

one student who is outstanding in scholarship, another who is outstanding in athletic ability, and a third who is outstanding both ways

c. : the condition of being or acting on a specified scale — used in phrases with in a and an adjective

real estate, a field of activity which he had entered in a small way — T.H.Jack

the United States entered the international investment market in a substantial way — Frank Parker

d. : the usual or characteristic state of affairs — used with with

he is very censorious, but then that is the way with reformed scoundrels

as is the way with dreams, I took it to be a sort of personal and private message or communication — Walter de la Mare

e. : mode of existence as shown especially by status, occupation, traits, or qualities : manner of occurrence — used with the, this, or that in phrases that contain no preposition and that stand in predicative or modifying relation to the verb be or a few other verbs

so attentive to other women that I have heard his wife ask him a dozen times not to be that way

it's too bad we can't offer you a job, but that's just the way things are

what everyone wants to know about the president is how he got this way — G.W.Martin

they themselves are flabby and smug, but they want to stay that way — Time

business has been good and we're doing everything we can to keep it that way — Item

well, Your Honor, it was this way



(1) : a characteristic or habitual manner of acting

justify the ways of God to men — John Milton

ignorant zealot though he was … he turned many from evil ways — H.E.Starr

it was the white man's way to assert himself in any landscape, to change it — Willa Cather

knew nothing of the ways of seafaring men — L.C.Douglas

description of the ways of nesting gannets — E.A.Armstrong

(2) : an individual peculiarity : personal trait : idiosyncrasy

that's just his way and you shouldn't let it bother you

a good fellow when you get used to his ways

(3) : an ingratiating or otherwise effective mode of behavior

he has such a way with him that he makes lots of friends wherever he goes

keen to show … what a way he had with him in this matter of tracking down seams — Gwyn Thomas

(4) : a recognized practice, tendency, or quality

great actresses have a way of scoring some of their most resounding successes in plays which are far from great — Peter Forster

what seems impossible has a way of suddenly coming to you — Denis Johnston

(5) : an endearing trick of behavior

greatly captivated by the ways of his host's children

(6) : ability to get along well or to perform well

his way with women and his extravagant habits made him many friends and much trouble — W.P.Webb

had a way with animals — Oden Meeker

has always had a way with metals — Time

b. : a regular continued course or mode of life, action, or existence

thanks to their isolation these people go their own way in many things — Samuel Van Valkenburg & Ellsworth Huntington

as the American way is made better known to the world — V.G.F.Reynolds

came up against them in the way of business — Stuart Piggott


(1) : a course or mode of life set forth in terms of a standard to be maintained or of gradual difficult progress toward excellence in motivation and action usually under religious sanctions : body of ethical practice especially as taught by a religion

not in one great Oriental religion only, the Way became a symbol of man's onward struggle and upward striving, of a journey towards a state of personal goodness and individual happiness — E.R.Pike

the way to Christ

(2) often capitalized : the Christian religion

that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem — Acts 9:2 (Revised Standard Version)

6. : the length of a course traversed or to be traversed in space, time, range of possibilities, or progress toward a stated or implied objective : distance

a house a little way out of town — Calvin Kentfield

let me go back a little way and give you some background to this basic premise of our foreign policy — Dean Acheson

transcended but a little way the region of commonplace — Thomas Carlyle

not as capable as his brother by a long way

at a cost estimated all the way from one to two million dollars

has come a long way in his knowledge of international geography — Gordon Walker

this proposal should go a long way towards meeting another criticism — Economist


a. : movement or progress along a spatial or other course

led the way into the heart of Chile's southern frontier — P.E.James

led the way to unanimity — Beverly Smith

held his way in spite of all obstacles

forced his way through the crowd

working his way through college

specifically : advancement in one's career

when he had his way still to make — Osbert Sitwell

b. : an advance or progression accompanied by a specified action — used as the object of a verb that serves only to indicate what action accompanies the advance

a white cat purring its way gracefully among the wine cups at a feast — Agnes Repplier

barbarians who cough their way through concerts — Justina Hill

8. : a method of attaining or accomplishing something : means

this delicious easy way of getting additional iron and calcium — advt

a way to make a living — S.H.Adams

ways of helping the aged to live out their declining years — A.W.Hummel

the attack was made, not in the way of storm — T.B.Macaulay

— sometimes used as the principal word in an adverbial phrase with no preposition

thought he could win the game that way


a. : a direction of motion, facing, pointing, or nonspatial advance or tendency — often used as the principal word in an adverbial or adjectival phrase with no preposition

is coming this way

turn your head the other way

shift his expectation one way or another — Margaret Mead

the money was divided three ways

with no glance … her way — Amy Lowell

how its decision can go any other way — Commonweal

either there is a valid contract or there is not; you cannot have it both ways

an honest answer one way or the other — M.R.Cohen

hard to make a very conclusive case either way — Bruce Payne

sometimes a noun is derived from a verb and sometimes it is the other way around

b. : a part of a town, city, country, or the world : locality , district , neighborhood , vacinity — used with a preceding possessive adjective or place-name which in turn is sometimes preceded by a preposition

great explosions coming from Dunkirk way — P.W.Thompson

or by no directional word at all

had just rented a tidy-sized farm Shorwell way — J.B.Priestley

but most frequently by a directional adverb

the weather has been good out our way

that little old college down Cambridge way — Jean Stafford


(1) : a direction with reference to the lie of a natural growth (as hair or feathers)

stroking the cat's fur the wrong way

(2) : grain I 6d

cut cloth the way of the goods instead of on the bias


(1) : one of the lines terminating at a hydraulic or other valve — often used in attributive noun compounds with a numeral as first constituent

a four- way valve

(2) : one of the operating positions of an electric switch — used in attributive noun compounds with a numeral as first constituent

a three- way switch

e. : participating party : participant — used in attributive noun compounds with a numeral as first constituent

a three- way discussion


a. : condition especially with regard to health, prosperity, or future prospects

if the people cannot depend upon the promises of their president they are in a bad way — J.P.Warburg

been very ill this week … and though now in a way to be well, am like to be confined some days longer — Thomas Gray

the state was in a fair way to get a new instrument of government — Nation

would have put himself in a fair way of getting shot — Charles Dickens

put him in the way of another chance — Hamilton Basso

if anyone were in the way of getting information — F.Tennyson Jesse

b. Britain : a state of mind ; especially : a condition of abnormal nervous tension or excitement

she was quite in a way — Arnold Bennett


a. : room to advance, pass, or progress : opportunity to proceed

give way

make way

b. : freedom of action or opportunity

let me have way … to find this practice out — Shakespeare

c. : a place or position to be occupied by someone else or something else — used as object of make

several one-family houses torn down to make way for an apartment house

12. : scope or range of observation, experience, or possible acquisition

intrigues with low women that fell in my way — Benjamin Franklin


a. ways plural but sometimes singular in construction : an inclined structure usually of timber upon which a ship is built or upon which a ship is supported in launching

the ways are either of yellow or pitch pine — A.C.Holms

owned three steamboats … a marine ways, and several landing fleets — Frederick Way

all American flag shipping, afloat or on the ways — New York Herald Tribune

— compare bilge ways , dogshore , ground ways , sliding ways

b. ways plural : the longitudinal guides or guiding surfaces on the bed of a machine (as a planer or lathe) along which a table or carriage moves

c. : a structure or member of a set of structures designed to guide the movement of an object along a strictly determined path

stainless steel weatherstripping … serves as sash way for both upper and lower sash — Sweet's Catalog Service

14. : a group with common features : category , kind , description — usually used in a prepositional phrase introduced by in

has little in the way of financial resources — L.M.Chamberlain

everything you need in the way of vitamins — Gregor Felsen

have picked up one or two gems in the antique way — H.J.Laski

in way of compensation, he was allowed a pension — James Mill


a. : the motion or speed of a ship or boat through the water

a ship on starting gathers way

when actually moving through the water, a vessel has way on her; if moving too fast she is said to have too much way on — Manual of Seamanship

b. : the motion or speed of something or someone traveling otherwise than through water

the pavement was on a slight incline, the perambulator had a little way on it, and the whole force of the wind behind — J.D.Beresford

16. : a line of business or of professional activity

17. : right-of-way 1,2

18. dialect Britain : reason , cause

19. usually capitalized : a Navaho ceremonial rite that consists largely of chants and dances and is performed for protection against various ill effects and assurance of general well-being and good fortune

Red Ant Way

Mountain Top Way


way , route , course , passage , pass , artery mean, in common, a track or path traversed in going from one place to another. way is general and inclusive of any track or path, often figurative, specifically signifying a road in combinations or special phrases

rail way

high way

the only other village was one day's mule trip farther into the interior, but the way was so steep and slippery in places that we walked almost as much as we rode — C.B.Hitchcock

the water continues its way down the valley for 5 kilometers — N.R.Heiden

the way was now open for the final act — W.C.Ford

route signifies a way, often circuitous, followed with regularity by a person or animal or laid out to be followed as by a tourist or army

a paper route

a milk truck following a morning delivery route

the dog team trails and canoe routes of a trader, trapper and missionary in the bush country — W.J.Granberg

a much traveled main route from Boston to Albany

course is often interchangeable with route but more often implies a path followed by or as if by a stream, star, or other moving natural object impelled by or in a path determined by natural forces

the course of a river

a meteor's course

a ship's course

the course of the seasons

or a predetermined or more or less compulsory way or route followed in human activities or enterprises

a course of study for an academic degree

a golf course

a race course

passage stresses a crossing over or a passing through, often designating the thing passed through, usually something narrow where transit might be restricted

a rough passage to America by boat

a narrow passage from kitchen to basement

restrict the passage into the stomach

pass usually designates a passage through or over something that presents an obstacle (as a mountain or river)

a narrow pass over the Alps

a shallow ford constituted the only pass across the river

artery is applied to one of the great continuous traffic channels (as a great central rail route, river, or highway) from which branch off smaller or shorter channels

the Congo river would remain the main traffic artery — C.G.Weigend

the main artery between Buffalo and Niagara Falls — Retailing Daily

the need for improvement of main arteries interconnecting cities and for express highways in cities — Britannica Book of the Year

Synonym: see in addition method .

- all the way

- by way of

- each way

- go out of one's way

- go the way of

- have everything one's own way

- hold way

- in a big way

- in a way

- in one's way

- make the best of one's way

- one's way around

- on the way

- out of the way

- the way

- the way of all flesh

- under way

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

obsolete : to break or train (a horse) to the road

III. ˈwā adjective

: of, connected with, or constituting an intermediate point on the route from one place to another

IV. adverb

Etymology: Middle English, short for away, on way — more at away

1. chiefly dialect : away I 2

go way


a. : away I 7

sleeves that dangle way below the tips of the fingers — Lois Long

forging way ahead in education — J.T.Farrell

b. chiefly dialect : all the way : clear II c

pull the switch way back

c. dialect : extremely

till way late in the morning — Mary S. Watts

- from way back

V. verb imperative

Etymology: probably alteration of whoa

dialect Britain — used as a command to a team or draft animal to stop

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.