\ ˈwā How to pronounce way (audio) \

Definition of way

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a thoroughfare for travel or transportation from place to place
b : an opening for passage this door is the only way out of the room
2 : the course traveled from one place to another : route asked the way to the museum
3a : a course (such as a series of actions or sequence of events) leading in a direction or toward an objective led the way to eventual open heart operationsCurrent Biography
b(1) : a course of action took the easy way out
(2) : opportunity, capability, or fact of doing as one pleases always manages to get her own way
c : a possible decision, action, or outcome : possibility they were rude—no two ways about it
4a : manner or method of doing or happening admired her way of thinking also : method of accomplishing : means that's the way to do it
b : feature, respect in no way resembles her mother
c : a usually specified degree of participation in an activity or enterprise active in real estate in a small way
5a : characteristic, regular, or habitual manner or mode of being, behaving, or happening knows nothing of the ways of women
b : ability to get along well or perform well she has a way with kids a way with words
6 : the length of a course : distance has come a long way in her studies still have a way to go
7 : movement or progress along a course worked her way up the corporate ladder
8a : direction is coming this way
b : participant usually used in combination three-way discussion
9 : state of affairs : condition, state that's the way things are
10a ways plural in form but sometimes singular in construction : an inclined structure upon which a ship is built or supported in launching
b ways plural : the guiding surfaces on the bed of a machine along which a table or carriage moves
11 : category, kind usually used in the phrase in the way of doesn't require much in the way of expensive equipmentForbes
12 : motion or speed of a ship or boat through the water
all the way
: to the full or entire extent : as far as possible ran all the way home seated all the way in the back
by the way
: by way of interjection or digression : incidentally
by way of
1 : for the purpose of
2 : by the route through : via
in a way
1 : within limits : with reservations
2 : from one point of view
in one's way or less commonly in the way
1 : in a position to be encountered by one : in or along one's course an opportunity had been put in my way— Ellen Glasgow
2 : in a position to hinder or obstruct
on the way or on one's way
: moving along in one's course : in progress
out of the way
1 : wrong, improper didn't know I'd said anything out of the way
2a : in or to a secluded place
b : unusual, remarkable there's nothing out of the way about the plan
3 : done, completed got his homework out of the way
the way
1 : in view of the manner in which you'd think she was rich, the way she spends money
2 : like, as we have cats the way other people have mice— James Thurber



Definition of way (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, connected with, or constituting an intermediate point on a route



Definition of way (Entry 3 of 3)

1 informal
a : by a long distance : to a considerable degree or extent : far is way ahead of the class sat way in the back row
b : by far : much ate way too much that's way too expensive
c : very sense 1 way cool way excited
2 : all the way pull the switch way back
from way back
: of long standing friends from way back

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Choose the Right Synonym for way


method, mode, manner, way, fashion, system mean the means taken or procedure followed in achieving an end. method implies an orderly logical arrangement usually in steps. effective teaching methods mode implies an order or course followed by custom, tradition, or personal preference. the preferred mode of transportation manner is close to mode but may imply a procedure or method that is individual or distinctive. an odd manner of conducting way is very general and may be used for any of the preceding words. has her own way of doing things fashion may suggest a peculiar or characteristic way of doing something. rushing about in his typical fashion system suggests a fully developed or carefully formulated method often emphasizing rational orderliness. a filing system

Examples of way in a Sentence

Noun We'll try doing it your way first. Let me explain it this way. You can pay for your purchase in one of two ways: by cash or by credit card. Which door is the way in? The back way was blocked. This door is the only way out of the room. Adverb He is way ahead of the other runners. They live way out in the country. We sat way back in the last row. I missed a week of class and fell way behind. Your parents are way cool.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Officers cleared the area to make way for fire officials to put out the flames. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Antifa attacks Portland police union amid ongoing unrest," 5 Apr. 2021 Ellingson’s arm was more of a factor in the opener, while the Wildcats’ veteran offensive line paved the way for a solid ground game against Lake Zurich. Steve Reaven, chicagotribune.com, "Football notes: Defensive lineman AJ Romero makes immediate impact in first games in Nazareth uniform," 5 Apr. 2021 Kispert led the way in the first encounter with 27 points. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "A look at every game in Gonzaga's unbeaten run to the men's basketball tournament title game," 5 Apr. 2021 His senior year, Woodson led the city and county in scoring with 28.6, paving the way for Broad Ripple's 20-4 record. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, "IU's Mike Woodson, high school superstar: 'Best to come out of Indy since Oscar Robertson'," 4 Apr. 2021 Collin Sexton led the way, pouring in a game-high 26 points on 11-of-17 from the field. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Darius Garland ejected as Cleveland Cavaliers’ Miami losing streak continues, 115-101," 4 Apr. 2021 As fall gave way to winter, local photographer Rebecca Kiger spent months documenting the community and efforts to help. Paul Moakley, Time, "Deaths Among America's Homeless Are Soaring in the Pandemic. A Photographer Captures A Community In Crisis," 3 Apr. 2021 There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example. NBC News, "Obama praises MLB for pulling All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of restrictive voting law," 3 Apr. 2021 Several counties in the Black Belt - one of Alabama’s poorest regions - continue to lead the way in vaccination rate. Ramsey Archibald | Rarchibald@al.com, al, "Covid vaccine: 18 percent of adults in Alabama now fully vaccinated, Black Belt out front," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Instead, Simpson donned protective gear and arranged a multi-way video call on her cellphone from Alvarado’s room. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "‘We’re all fearful of what could happen’: COVID deaths rise in San Antonio as hospitals are pushed to capacity," 12 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But Hunter’s sense of non-belonging starts much earlier, way back in elementary school and continuing into college. Philip Elliott, Time, "Hunter Biden On Making His Own Crack, Living with His Dealer and His Family’s Effort to Keep Him Alive," 6 Apr. 2021 Sun Noodle and Momofuku go way back, almost to the beginning of the ramen revolution that began when then-unknown David Chang opened the first humble noodle bar. Leslie Kelly, Forbes, "New Momofuku Collab With Sun Noodle Is So Hot," 4 Apr. 2021 The tradition goes way back: After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, his subjects covertly showed their loyalty by wearing miniature portraits of the monarch concealed in rings and pendants. Jill Newman, Town & Country, "How Royals from Queen Elizabeth I to Prince Charles Kept Secrets in Their Jewels," 2 Apr. 2021 The first half of season 5 dropped way back in August. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "Lucifer season 5B blessed with May premiere date," 29 Mar. 2021 The property’s story goes way back, having originally been built in 1938. Helena Madden, Robb Report, "Home Tour: For $58 Million, This Renovated 1938 LA Estate Brings Regal Elegance to SoCal Living," 29 Mar. 2021 The former Knicks head coach was a star at Indiana in the 1970s and was linked to the Indiana job way back in 2014. Dennis Young, courant.com, "Popular Knicks staff finally loses one as Woodson leaves for Indiana University," 28 Mar. 2021 In the beginning, way back in 1965, nobody offered us an opportunity to dance. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Twyla Tharp Never Stops," 21 Mar. 2021 Compared to the elegant vibe of the Golden Globes or Critics Choice Awards, Hollywood’s gents turned out in suits that were way more wild and fun. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "These Were the Best Dressed Men at the Grammys," 14 Mar. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1836, in the meaning defined above


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for way


Middle English, from Old English weg; akin to Old High German weg way, Old English wegan to move, Latin vehere to carry, via way

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Time Traveler for way

Time Traveler

The first known use of way was before the 12th century

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Statistics for way

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Way.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/way. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for way



English Language Learners Definition of way

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: how someone or something does something : how someone or something behaves, appears, feels, etc.
: a method or system that can be used to do something
: a person's usual habits, actions, qualities, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of way (Entry 2 of 2)

: to a great distance or extent : very far
: by a great amount


\ ˈwā How to pronounce way (audio) \

Kids Definition of way

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the manner in which something is done or happens … Nick could feel a homework assignment coming the way a farmer can feel a rainstorm.— Andrew Clements, Frindle
2 : the course traveled from one place to another : route Do you know the way to my house?
3 : a noticeable point In some ways I wish I lived closer to school.
4 : state entry 1 sense 1 That's the way things are.
5 : distance in time or space You're a long way from home. The wedding is still a long way off.
6 : a special or personal manner of behaving Being quiet is just my way.
7 : a talent for handling something He has a way with words.
8 : room to advance or pass Make way—coming through!
9 : direction sense 1 I paid full fare each way.
10 : a track for travel : path, street
11 : a course of action He chose the easy way.
12 : personal choice as to situation or behavior : wish She insists on getting her way.
13 : progress along a course I'm working my way through college.
14 : a particular place The weather has been nice out our way.
15 : category, kind I had little in the way of help.
by the way
: apart from that By the way, did you hear what happened?
by way of
1 : for the purpose of I mentioned it by way of example.
2 : by the route through We drove by way of back roads.
in someone's way also in the way
: in a position to hinder or obstruct
out of the way
1 : in or to a place away from public view
2 : done fully He got his homework out of the way.



Kids Definition of way (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : far entry 1 sense 1 The sleeves hung way down.
2 : far entry 1 sense 2 He eats way too much candy.

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More from Merriam-Webster on way

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for way

Nglish: Translation of way for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of way for Arabic Speakers

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