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

More recent picks also were given more leeway since the jury is still out on some of those careers. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Draft duds: Mavs top 5 worst No. 1 picks," 20 June 2018 Democrats are expected to solidly oppose both GOP bills, giving Republicans little leeway for losing support. CBS News, "White House says Trump supports "moderate" GOP immigration bill after confusion," 16 June 2018 Regulators would also give banks more leeway to determine what levels of trading activity are appropriate for meeting customer demands on each of their trading desks. Emily Flitter And Alan Rappeport, BostonGlobe.com, "Big banks to get reprieve from Volcker Rule," 31 May 2018 Kavanaugh has put a finer point on that view elsewhere, criticizing what’s known as the Chevron doctrine, a Supreme Court precedent that gives agencies leeway to craft rules in the absence of clear directives from Congress. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: CFPB further under fire with Kavanaugh pick for Supreme Court," 11 July 2018 The Valor Act was intended to give District Court judges leeway in adjudicating cases involving military veterans. Adrian Walker, BostonGlobe.com, "State’s ‘Valor Act’ is a good intention gone wrong and must be fixed," 17 Jan. 2018 But when the attorney-client relationship is about routine business matters like reviewing contracts, there’s more leeway. Washington Post, "Hard to do: Businesses may need to break up with customers," 27 June 2018 The proposal, included in a draft summit statement, is intended to deter perilous journeys across the Mediterranean, provide for rapid processing to weed out economic migrants and allow greater leeway in determining their final destinations. Fortune, "Why European Tension Is Rising Over Migrants (Again)," 23 June 2018 Adding Hoffman affords the team a bit more leeway to maybe top-draft a defenseman Getting Hoffman appears a good deal, on ice. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Panthers should have gone after championship coach, but here's why they had no interest," 21 June 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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Phrases Related to leeway

make up (the) leeway

Statistics for leeway

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for leeway

The first known use of leeway was in 1669

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English Language Learners Definition of leeway

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

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Comments on leeway

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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