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

Last year, the company sealed a deal to buy CSRA, a massive beltway IT contractor, for almost $10 billion. Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, "Former defense secretary Jim Mattis rejoins General Dynamics board," 7 Aug. 2019 This annual affair rocks and bops inside the 495 beltway this year., "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 4 July 2019 While there has been discussion and even attempts at siting a centerline for an outer beltway since the 1980s, former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert of Yorkville started the main Prairie Parkway attempt in 2001. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "End of the road for Prairie Parkway in Fox Valley," 26 Mar. 2018 Marching for our lives; bigger than the beltway when enough is enough. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: CEO Activism, #NeverAgain Marches To Washington, Transgender Teachers Under Siege," 23 Mar. 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 Services Baltimore County operates 20 senior centers, stretching all around the beltway and north into Hereford. Cody Boteler,, "Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands Senior Center celebrates 30 years," 21 June 2019 This annual affair rocks and bops inside the 495 beltway this year., "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 4 July 2019 The Republican governor agreed to proceed first with adding toll lanes to Interstate 270, which connects the beltway and Frederick. Jeff Barker,, "U.S. House committee declines amendments by Rep. Anthony Brown to block Gov. Hogan's toll lanes project," 20 June 2019

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

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

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).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!