lee·​way | \ ˈlē-ˌwā \

Definition of leeway

1a : off-course lateral movement of a ship when underway The sailboat's centerboard helps to reduce leeway.
b : the angle between the heading and the track of an airplane
2 : an allowable margin of freedom or variation : tolerance The new rules allow managers greater leeway in making decisions.

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Examples of leeway in a Sentence

They give their students leeway to try new things. you will be given some leeway in choosing how to carry out the project

Recent Examples on the Web

Men who make no effort whatsoever on the fashion front get a lot more leeway than women who do make a sizeable effort. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stop Telling Women What to Wear to Work," 5 Dec. 2018 Lopez Londoño received some leeway from U.S. District Judge Donald Graham. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Convicted U.S. informant escapes life term for role in huge Colombian coke ring," 18 June 2018 Bathrooms are relatively small spaces, and there's not much leeway for positioning a shelf, wall cabinet, or towel bar. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Mount a Shelf on a Tile Wall," 6 Mar. 2013 These days, umpires have less leeway on their calls. Lee Judge Special To The Star, kansascity, "Debate at the plate: Baseball's unwritten rules for arguing balls and strikes," 11 July 2018 Among other things, the new proposal would give states significant leeway in enforcing the rules. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, "E.P.A. Drafts Rule on Coal Plants to Replace Clean Power Plan," 5 July 2018 While citizen’s initiatives have considerable leeway in telling governments what to do, San Diego maintains these measures illegally attempt to take control of certain city administrative functions, among other things. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Why San Diego's marquee initiatives might not make the ballot," 29 June 2018 Verma stressed that states should have more leeway in operating their Medicaid programs. Priyanka Dayal Mccluskey, BostonGlobe.com, "Medicaid needs to change, head of program says in Boston, and that includes spending caps," 25 Apr. 2018 After President Trump was elected, Kirst and fellow board members expressed hope that DeVos — who often voices her support for local control of schools — would give them more leeway in interpreting the law. Joy Resmovits, latimes.com, "California education officials finally agree on a plan to meet key federal requirements," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leeway.' 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 leeway

1669, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for leeway

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leeway

The first known use of leeway was in 1669

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More Definitions for leeway



English Language Learners Definition of leeway

: freedom to do something the way you want to do it

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More from Merriam-Webster on leeway

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leeway

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leeway

Spanish Central: Translation of leeway

Nglish: Translation of leeway for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leeway for Arabic Speakers

Comments on leeway

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a complex dispute or argument

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