\ ˈwā \

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


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.


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

An Exhibit 10 contract also can be converted into a two-way contract before the first day of the season. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic sign FSU alum Braian Angola-Rodas to Exhibit 10 contract," 14 July 2018 Pininfarina's long history and new owner give it a solid shot at forcing its way into a competitive market. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "Pininfarina's Back With a $2 Million Electric Hypercar," 14 July 2018 The Florida Panthers added to their depth on defense by signing defenseman Julian Melchiori to a one-year, two-way contract on Friday morning. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Panthers sign defenseman Julian Melchiori to play on AHL blue line," 13 July 2018 In one case, a chartered one-way flight from Seattle back to Washington in August 2017 cost $121,500, while an average commercial flight would have totaled $2,490. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "Former HHS secretary Tom Price’s air travel wasted $341,000 in government funds, watchdog says," 13 July 2018 The pattern was far murkier in Wisconsin’s 2012 Republican U.S. Senate fight, a fragmented four-way contest in which metropolitan Milwaukee divided its vote and ex-Gov. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP senate primary in Wisconsin already reflects north-south divide within party," 13 July 2018 In one instance, the agency booked a one-way flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C., costing $121,500, $45,671 more than another charter option available, the report said. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "HHS Watchdog Pushes to Recoup $341,000 Wasted by Ex-Secretary Price on Travel," 13 July 2018 In one case, a chartered one-way flight from Seattle back to Washington in August 2017 cost $121,500, while an average commercial flight would have totaled $2,490. Amy Goldstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Watchdog criticizes Tom Price on costly travel while at HHS," 13 July 2018 The Heat is expected to explore other potential options for its second two-way contract. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Tyler Johnson contract creating challenges, and these interesting future options for Heat," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Why are employers growing in Texas, California and Florida, more than Philly? Why are offices going up and rents rising in Boston, New York, Washington, way more than Philly? Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "Philly poverty: Cause, or effect?," 11 July 2018 The Rangers were lucky to have scored once against Cole, and the Gattis homer, his RBI single in the sixth and an Alex Bregman homer in the eighth were way too much for the offense to overcome. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: No matter what Daniels calls it, it's time to embrace the long-term plan," 7 June 2018 The pay gap goes way deeper than just men’s and women’s salaries——that’s why just paying women more doesn’t solve the problem. Bloomberg.com, "Treating the Disease," 5 June 2018 Yelich's throw was way off target, allowing Cooper to score the winning throw without a slide. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Marlins celebrate another extra-inning win on walk-off hit in 12th," 12 July 2018 Not only does it cut cooking time way, way down for all sorts of dishes, but the pressure cooker seals tight, keeping heat inside, which is a real win in the summer months. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "These are the 5 best deals on Amazon right now," 12 July 2018 The episode was meant to be fun and Virginia-themed (?), but its bland jingoism fell way off the mark, especially considering the Bachelorette's general apathy. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Bachelorette Wants To Have Its Cake & Be Political, Too," 3 July 2018 Siri is in way, way, way more countries than Alexa. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Recode Editor in Chief Dan Frommer answers Apple WWDC questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 25 June 2018 Electric appears to be what’s up, way up, in Europe. Ed Wallace, star-telegram, "Promises, Promises," 22 June 2018

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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Learn More about way

Statistics for way

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for way

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

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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 \

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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