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way Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun how something is done or how it happens
    style; fashion; manner; mode.
    • her dignified manner
    • his rapid manner of talking
    • their nomadic mode of existence
    • in the characteristic New York style
    • a lonely way of life
    • in an abrasive fashion
  2. noun how a result is obtained or an end is achieved
    agency; means.
    • a means of control
    • an example is the best agency of instruction
    • the true way to success
  3. noun a line leading to a place or point
    • he looked the other direction
    • didn't know the way home
  4. noun the condition of things generally
    • that's the way it is
    • I felt the same way
  5. noun a course of conduct
    path; way of life.
    • the path of virtue
    • we went our separate ways
    • our paths in life led us apart
    • genius usually follows a revolutionary path
  6. noun any artifact consisting of a road or path affording passage from one place to another
    • he said he was looking for the way out
  7. noun a journey or passage
    • they are on the way
  8. noun space for movement
    elbow room; room.
    • room to pass
    • make way for
    • hardly enough elbow room to turn around
  9. noun the property of distance in general
    • it's a long way to Moscow
    • he went a long ways
  10. noun doing as one pleases or chooses
    • if I had my way
  11. noun a general category of things; used in the expression `in the way of'
    • they didn't have much in the way of clothing
  12. noun a portion of something divided into shares
    • they split the loot three ways
  13. adverb to a great degree or by a great distance; very much (`right smart' is regional in the United States)
    right smart.
    • way over budget
    • way off base
    • the other side of the hill is right smart steeper than the side we are on

Way adverb
Aphetic form of away.
  1. Away. Obs. or Archaic Chaucer.
Way noun
OE. wey, way, AS. weg; akin to OS., D., OHG., & G. weg, Icel. vegr, Sw. väg, Dan. vei, Goth. wigs, L. via, and AS. wegan to move, L. vehere to carry, Skr. vah. Cf. Convex, Inveigh, Vehicle, Vex, Via, Voyage, Wag, Wagon, Wee, Weigh.
  1. That by, upon, or along, which one passes or processes; opportunity or room to pass; place of passing; passage; road, street, track, or path of any kind; as, they built a way to the mine. "To find the way to heaven." Shak.
    I shall him seek by way and eke by street. Chaucer.
    The way seems difficult, and steep to scale. Milton.
    The season and ways were very improper for his majesty's forces to march so great a distance. Evelyn.
  2. Length of space; distance; interval; as, a great way; a long way.
    And whenever the way seemed long, Or his heart began to fail. Longfellow.
  3. A moving; passage; procession; journey.
    I prythee, now, lead the way. Shak.
  4. Course or direction of motion or process; tendency of action; advance.
    If that way be your walk, you have not far. Milton.
    And let eternal justice take the way. Dryden.
  5. The means by which anything is reached, or anything is accomplished; scheme; device; plan.
    My best way is to creep under his gaberdine. Shak.
    By noble ways we conquest will prepare. Dryden.
    What impious ways my wishes took! Prior.
  6. Manner; method; mode; fashion; style; as, the way of expressing one's ideas.
  7. Regular course; habitual method of life or action; plan of conduct; mode of dealing. "Having lost the way of nobleness." Sir. P. Sidney.
    Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Prov. iii. 17.
    When men lived in a grander way. Longfellow.
  8. Sphere or scope of observation. Jer. Taylor.
    The public ministers that fell in my way. Sir W. Temple.
  9. Determined course; resolved mode of action or conduct; as, to have one's way.
  10. (Naut.) (a) Progress; as, a ship has way. (b) pl. The timbers on which a ship is launched.
  11. pl. (Mach.) The longitudinal guides, or guiding surfaces, on the bed of a planer, lathe, or the like, along which a table or carriage moves.
  12. (Law) Right of way. See below. Syn. -- Street; highway; road. -- Way, Street, Highway, Road. Way is generic, denoting any line for passage or conveyance; a highway is literally one raised for the sake of dryness and convenience in traveling; a road is, strictly, a way for horses and carriages; a street is, etymologically, a paved way, as early made in towns and cities; and, hence, the word is distinctively applied to roads or highways in compact settlements.
    All keep the broad highway, and take delight With many rather for to go astray. Spenser.
    There is but one road by which to climb up. Addison.
    When night Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. Milton.
Way transitive verb
  1. To go or travel to; to go in, as a way or path. Obs. "In land not wayed." Wyclif.
Way intransitive verb
  1. To move; to progress; to go. R.
    On a time as they together wayed. Spenser.

Webster 1913