hatch·​way ˈhach-ˌwā How to pronounce hatchway (audio)
: a passage giving access usually by a ladder or stairs to an enclosed space (such as a cellar)

Examples of hatchway in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sailors who got snatched up were transported in the holds of small ships known as tenders, which resembled floating jails, with gratings bolted over the hatchways and marines standing guard with muskets and bayonets. David Grann, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2023 Astronomer Mark Aaronson, 36, was killed in 1987 when a design flaw allowed the 150-ton revolving dome of the Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona to continue rotating after it had been switched off, catching and crushing Aaronson in a hatchway. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Oct. 2022 Working swiftly in the frigid water, divers inserted miniature ROVs through openings in the main hatchway and skylights in the crew’s cabins, officers’ mess, and captain’s stateroom. Roff Smith, National Geographic, 28 Aug. 2019 Everything lined up, including hatchways on the sidewalk that lead to cellars. John Kelly, Washington Post, 7 June 2018 Dr. Petit managed to free himself and escape out the cellar hatchway as fire consumed the house. Washington Post, 17 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hatchway.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1620, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hatchway was circa 1620

Dictionary Entries Near hatchway

Cite this Entry

“Hatchway.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hatchway. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


hatch·​way ˈhach-ˌwā How to pronounce hatchway (audio)
: a hatch usually with a ladder or stairs

More from Merriam-Webster on hatchway

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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