noun, often attributive
belt·​way | \ ˈbelt-ˌwā How to pronounce beltway (audio) \

Definition of beltway

1 : a highway skirting an urban area
2 capitalized : the political and social world of Washington, D.C., viewed especially as insular and exclusive understanding better than Beltway insiders what really interests voters— L. I. Barrett

Examples of beltway in a Sentence

Her influence extends beyond the Beltway.

Recent Examples on the Web

Hot spots of growth include Lake Nona and Horizons West, neighborhoods popping up along beltways, as well as cities such as Clermont and Winter Garden that offer easy commutes to downtown Orlando., "New home builders in Orlando area keep moving outward," 25 Jan. 2018 The expressway loop around Orlando – the region’s beltway of nearly 112 miles – will have been completed all but for about a dozen miles in Lake and Seminole counties. Kevin Spear,, "Wekiva Parkway segment set to open into Lake County," 16 Mar. 2018 The state transportation department owns Florida’s Turnpike, parts of the beltway around Orlando and pieces of the State Road 528 Beachline Expressway. Kevin Spear,, "SunPass will freeze customers' toll-transponder accounts for system revamp," 31 May 2018 There are no major improvements in transit, but toll lanes are built on outer beltways, and another bridge is built to the Eastern Shore. Katherine Shaver, Washington Post, "Here’s how researchers think the Washington-Baltimore region could look in 20 years," 18 Apr. 2018 Located to the immediate northeast of the I-465 beltway that circles Indianapolis, Hamilton County brings a lot to the table for current and prospective residents. Shelley Specchio, Indianapolis Star, "Discovering Indianapolis’ vibrant neighborhoods: Hamilton County," 29 June 2018 But in the beltway, political Twitter is an omnipresent fact of your physical life. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Male Echo Chamber of Political Twitter," 26 June 2018 The ramps will be part of a planned beltway around O’Hare, connecting Illinois Route 390 going east toward the airport with a new north-south Tollway to be called Interstate -490 which would go along the airport’s western border. Mary Wisniewski,, "Tollway board approves deal with railroad to allow O'Hare western access," 13 June 2018 Peak officials cited the location near the beltway and not far from downtown Baltimore as adding to the complex’s appeal. Meredith Cohn,, "Peak Management buys apartment complex in Pikesville," 9 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of beltway

1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about beltway

Statistics for beltway

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beltway

The first known use of beltway was in 1950

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for beltway



English Language Learners Definition of beltway

US : a highway that goes around a city
: the political and social world of Washington, D.C.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on beltway

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beltway

Spanish Central: Translation of beltway

Nglish: Translation of beltway for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beltway for Arabic Speakers

Comments on beltway

What made you want to look up beltway? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!