un·der·way | \ ˌən-dər-ˈwā \

Definition of underway 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: occurring, performed, or used while traveling or in motion underway replenishment of fuel


variants: or less commonly under way

Definition of underway (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in motion : not at anchor or aground

2 : into motion from a standstill

3 : in progress : afoot preparations were underway the season got underway with a bang

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Synonyms for underway

Synonyms: Adverb

afoot, under weigh

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Examples of underway in a Sentence


The train has had to stop briefly, but it should be under way again soon. Preparations for their arrival are already under way.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Location: Scarsdale, New York Price: $2,990,000 A preservation battle is under way in Scarsdale, New York, located about 25 miles north of Manhattan. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Midcentury home by Frank Lloyd Wright disciple asks $3M," 2 July 2018 That effort is under way in Warsaw, along with deploying electric buses. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "BP invests in fast-charging electric vehicle technology," 23 May 2018 Another initiative, funded by the beverage industry, is under way in California that would require a supermajority vote to pass new taxes. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Philadelphia’s Soda Tax Goes to Court: What You Need to Know," 15 May 2018 The 2018 NFL Draft gets under way in Dallas on Thursday night. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "How to watch the 2018 NFL Draft," 26 Apr. 2018 Currently, there are no formal academic worker organizing drives under way in Michigan, though UAW locals exist at 11 college campuses, including Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University and Michigan Technological University. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "UAW wins election at Harvard; student workers organize," 20 Apr. 2018 Merge-o-mania is under way, and nothing's going to stop it. David Pogue, Scientific American, "Megamergers I’d Like to See," 13 July 2018 This is a Fox News alert out of Thailand where rescue efforts are under way to free those 12 boys and their coach who have been trapped for just over two weeks. Fox News, "Media's Supreme Court scrutiny," 9 July 2018 The investigation into the Ohio State scandal is still under way. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Jim Jordan is accused of turning a blind eye to Ohio State sexual abuse. Now he’s attacking the accusers.," 6 July 2018

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


1743, in the meaning defined above


1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for underway


probably from Dutch onderweg, from Middle Dutch onderwegen, literally, under or among the ways

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Statistics for underway

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Time Traveler for underway

The first known use of underway was in 1720

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Comments on underway

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an open space surrounded by woods

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