\ ˈwā How to pronounce way (audio) \

Definition of way

 (Entry 1 of 3)
1a : a thoroughfare for travel or transportation from place to place
b : an opening for passage this door is the only way out of the room
2 : the course traveled from one place to another : route asked the way to the museum
3a : a course (such as a series of actions or sequence of events) leading in a direction or toward an objective led the way to eventual open heart operationsCurrent Biography
b(1) : a course of action took the easy way out
(2) : opportunity, capability, or fact of doing as one pleases always manages to get her own way
c : a possible decision, action, or outcome : possibility they were rude—no two ways about it
4a : manner or method of doing or happening admired her way of thinking also : method of accomplishing : means that's the way to do it
b : feature, respect in no way resembles her mother
c : a usually specified degree of participation in an activity or enterprise active in real estate in a small way
5a : characteristic, regular, or habitual manner or mode of being, behaving, or happening knows nothing of the ways of women
b : ability to get along well or perform well she has a way with kids a way with words
6 : the length of a course : distance has come a long way in her studies still have a way to go
7 : movement or progress along a course worked her way up the corporate ladder
8a : direction is coming this way
b : participant usually used in combination three-way discussion
9 : state of affairs : condition, state that's the way things are
10a ways plural in form but sometimes singular in construction : an inclined structure upon which a ship is built or supported in launching
b ways plural : the guiding surfaces on the bed of a machine along which a table or carriage moves
11 : category, kind usually used in the phrase in the way of doesn't require much in the way of expensive equipmentForbes
12 : motion or speed of a ship or boat through the water
all the way
: to the full or entire extent : as far as possible ran all the way home seated all the way in the back
by the way
: by way of interjection or digression : incidentally
by way of
1 : for the purpose of
2 : by the route through : via
in a way
1 : within limits : with reservations
2 : from one point of view
in one's way or less commonly in the way
1 : in a position to be encountered by one : in or along one's course an opportunity had been put in my way— Ellen Glasgow
2 : in a position to hinder or obstruct
on the way or on one's way
: moving along in one's course : in progress
out of the way
1 : wrong, improper didn't know I'd said anything out of the way
2a : in or to a secluded place
b : unusual, remarkable there's nothing out of the way about the plan
3 : done, completed got his homework out of the way
the way
1 : in view of the manner in which you'd think she was rich, the way she spends money
2 : like, as we have cats the way other people have mice— James Thurber


Definition of way (Entry 2 of 3)
: of, connected with, or constituting an intermediate point on a route


Definition of way (Entry 3 of 3)
1 informal
a : by a long distance : to a considerable degree or extent : far is way ahead of the class sat way in the back row
b : by far : much ate way too much that's way too expensive
c : very sense 1 way cool way excited
2 : all the way pull the switch way back
from way back
: of long standing friends from way back

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Choose the Right Synonym for way


method, mode, manner, way, fashion, system mean the means taken or procedure followed in achieving an end. method implies an orderly logical arrangement usually in steps. effective teaching methods mode implies an order or course followed by custom, tradition, or personal preference. the preferred mode of transportation manner is close to mode but may imply a procedure or method that is individual or distinctive. an odd manner of conducting way is very general and may be used for any of the preceding words. has her own way of doing things fashion may suggest a peculiar or characteristic way of doing something. rushing about in his typical fashion system suggests a fully developed or carefully formulated method often emphasizing rational orderliness. a filing system

Examples of way in a Sentence

Noun We'll try doing it your way first. Let me explain it this way. You can pay for your purchase in one of two ways: by cash or by credit card. Which door is the way in? The back way was blocked. This door is the only way out of the room. Adverb He is way ahead of the other runners. They live way out in the country. We sat way back in the last row. I missed a week of class and fell way behind. Your parents are way cool.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As glowing as ever, Angela Bassett wore a long, serpentine braid that fell all the way to the hips, while Laverne Cox had her platinum lengths woven into a duo of milkmaid braids, pairing the timeless hairstyle with a glossy raspberry pout. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Looks from the 2021 Golden Globes," 1 Mar. 2021 Acknowledge your feelings and feel them all the way through without trying to rationalize them away. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for February 28, 2021," 28 Feb. 2021 Carol Hardy was on the way home from a baseball tournament for her son, who was also in the vehicle at the time and survived with minor injuries, according to a GoFundme that was set up to pay for the funeral and hospital bills. Paul Best, Fox News, "Texas mother dies in freak crash when wheel smashes through windshield," 28 Feb. 2021 Pierce, the British ambassador, said that even in the changed landscape, the U.S. posture is critical to the way other countries position themselves. Anne Gearan, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden tells the world ‘America is back.’ The world isn’t so sure.," 28 Feb. 2021 So, with their nuclear reactors only about half-way through their life-spans, and the whole program running really well, who in Sweden would want to completely shut them down? James Conca, Forbes, "Irrational Nuclear Fear Puts Sweden In Danger Of Succumbing To Stupidity," 28 Feb. 2021 Sipsey Valley – Russell led the way with 15 points and six rebounds, followed by Jamyas Davis with 10 and Tyrien Smith and Jamirrus Fuller with six each. Bill Lumpkin Iii, al, "Class 5A boys: Ramsay rolls into finals with 58-40 win over Sipsey Valley," 28 Feb. 2021 The Irish, who were led by junior Annie Watson with 14 points, never got closer than nine the rest of the way. Joe Magill, cleveland, "Relentless Bailey Shutsa propels Norton to 58-47 Div. II girls basketball district title over St. Vincent-St. Mary," 28 Feb. 2021 The imposing and dignified first movement nicely gave way to the contrasting delicacy of the second. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "At Bach fest, Mendelssohn, jazz top McCartney on the charts | Review," 28 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Instead, Simpson donned protective gear and arranged a multi-way video call on her cellphone from Alvarado’s room. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "‘We’re all fearful of what could happen’: COVID deaths rise in San Antonio as hospitals are pushed to capacity," 12 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Lankinen and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo go way back. Chris Sosa, chicagotribune.com, "Who is Kevin Lankinen? 5 things to know about the Chicago Blackhawks goaltender, including his friend turned rival and his book club," 2 Mar. 2021 On Friday, the director quote tweeted a thread that Jada Pinkett Smith had posted way back in 2017, when both Girl’s Trip and Tiffany Haddish were snubbed by the HFPA. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Celebrities Want You To Think Twice Before You Watch The Golden Globes Tonight," 28 Feb. 2021 So this is way back in the mid 70s, Hope's review led in time to the formation of the Office of National Assessments, which had analytical function, but also a very limited coordination mandate. CBS News, "Nick Warner's life and career in the Australian Secret Intelligence Service," 24 Feb. 2021 The last losing season came way back in 1993, and Maryland has a .705 winning percentage in its Big Ten era. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "In search of dual dominance in the Big Ten: Ranking the football and men’s basketball programs 1-28," 19 Feb. 2021 It’s the city’s first fully vegan one. Pugilism and red meat go way back, and a boxing gym that sponsors a vegan fridge may sound a little like a Portlandia gag. Valeria Ricciulli, Curbed, "A Vegan Community Fridge at a Boxing Gym?," 19 Feb. 2021 Smitherman was the first candidate to launch his campaign, way back in August 2018. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, "PX column: Democrat and Republican women are winning elections. So why aren't any prominent female politicians running for Cincinnati mayor?," 19 Feb. 2021 But on Pereira’s way back to Brazil to surprise her mother with the gift, Francisca died. New York Times, "A Brazilian Treat for Home Cooks in a Hurry," 17 Feb. 2021 Long before Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart ever considered the word Jumanji, Robin Williams starred in the first adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s book, released way back in 1995. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 50 Best Movies on Peacock," 23 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'way.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of way


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1836, in the meaning defined above


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for way


Middle English, from Old English weg; akin to Old High German weg way, Old English wegan to move, Latin vehere to carry, via way

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Time Traveler for way Time Traveler

The first known use of way was before the 12th century

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Statistics for way

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Way.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/way. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for way



English Language Learners Definition of way

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: how someone or something does something : how someone or something behaves, appears, feels, etc.
: a method or system that can be used to do something
: a person's usual habits, actions, qualities, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of way (Entry 2 of 2)

: to a great distance or extent : very far
: by a great amount


\ ˈwā How to pronounce way (audio) \

Kids Definition of way

 (Entry 1 of 2)
1 : the manner in which something is done or happens … Nick could feel a homework assignment coming the way a farmer can feel a rainstorm.— Andrew Clements, Frindle
2 : the course traveled from one place to another : route Do you know the way to my house?
3 : a noticeable point In some ways I wish I lived closer to school.
4 : state entry 1 sense 1 That's the way things are.
5 : distance in time or space You're a long way from home. The wedding is still a long way off.
6 : a special or personal manner of behaving Being quiet is just my way.
7 : a talent for handling something He has a way with words.
8 : room to advance or pass Make way—coming through!
9 : direction sense 1 I paid full fare each way.
10 : a track for travel : path, street
11 : a course of action He chose the easy way.
12 : personal choice as to situation or behavior : wish She insists on getting her way.
13 : progress along a course I'm working my way through college.
14 : a particular place The weather has been nice out our way.
15 : category, kind I had little in the way of help.
by the way
: apart from that By the way, did you hear what happened?
by way of
1 : for the purpose of I mentioned it by way of example.
2 : by the route through We drove by way of back roads.
in someone's way also in the way
: in a position to hinder or obstruct
out of the way
1 : in or to a place away from public view
2 : done fully He got his homework out of the way.


Kids Definition of way (Entry 2 of 2)
1 : far entry 1 sense 1 The sleeves hung way down.
2 : far entry 1 sense 2 He eats way too much candy.

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More from Merriam-Webster on way

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for way

Nglish: Translation of way for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of way for Arabic Speakers

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