way

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
8
a
: 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
10
a
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

way

2 of 3

adjective

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

way

3 of 3

adverb

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
Phrases
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 wayEllen 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
2
a
: 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 miceJames Thurber
from way back
: of long standing
friends from way back
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Scholars have long asserted that the ways in which Confucianism was applied to nineteenth-century Chinese politics had left the country sclerotic—unable to engage with modern Western ideologies such as capitalism, liberalism, and nationalism. Rana Mitter, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Those looking for a little late night fun, perhaps after one of the many Festival dinners or Saturday’s Signature Tacos & Tequila event, can make their way to The Edition for the 7th annual Ping Pong & Pizzas with legendary chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Amber Love Bond, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 But these exchanges, usually between characters walking from one place to the next, offer little by way of either moral complexity or probing scrutiny. Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 20 Feb. 2024 And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square. Nikita Charuza, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 Throughout the Central Valley, many other communities are in harm’s way, and low-income communities are disproportionately at risk. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 20 Feb. 2024 Many more migrants may also find their way to the San Diego International Airport to wait for flights out of the region — waits that can sometimes take days. Alexandra Mendoza, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Feb. 2024 Somehow, gas stoves have found their way into the center of America’s culture war. Andrew Sheeler, Sacramento Bee, 20 Feb. 2024 In 2024, that has been no exception, with a flood of new flavors making their way to the city. Heidi Finley, Charlotte Observer, 20 Feb. 2024
Adjective
Customers rave about these bags for their perfect size, sturdiness, detachable bottom, and multi-way straps. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, 6 Dec. 2022 The multi-way stretch fabric truly moves with you while maintaining its compression. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2022 The durable approach and spacious, multi-way designs may seem to be best styled with a gorpcore jacket, hiking boots, and a scenic vista. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 July 2022 On its top plate there’s a brass multi-way controller incised with grooved concentric rings. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 15 June 2022 At a multi-way intersection, traffic lights and directional signage jostle for attention. Mark Rozzo, The New Yorker, 12 May 2022 Whoever wins what is shaping up to be a multi-way race will confront critical decisions on Day 1. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Jan. 2022 Instead, Simpson donned protective gear and arranged a multi-way video call on her cellphone from Alvarado’s room. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, 12 July 2020
Adverb
Records indicate Wan bought the house way back in 2007, paying $3.2 million; for much of the past 10 years, the property has been leased out. James McClain, Robb Report, 22 Feb. 2024 Like a fourth-and-two gamble in the third quarter, the decision backfired, as a heavily pressured Jared Goff threw a pass that fell way short for Amon-Ra St. Brown. USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 Fellow previous winner Michael McDowell — who earned first Cup win on this stage in 2021 — briefly led the race early and then fell way behind after having an engine problem. Shane Connuck, Charlotte Observer, 20 Feb. 2024 The Internet took it way overboard on Tom Sandoval, in my opinion. Krystie Lee Yandoli, Rolling Stone, 20 Feb. 2024 But many Bayern players are also way below form or, worse, may have surpassed the pinnacles of their careers. Manuel Veth, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 Meanwhile, Stanford University was way ahead of federal requirements in certain ways. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 17 Feb. 2024 Although the brand was founded way back in 1925, it’s had something of a renaissance in recent years, with its trademark colorful cast-iron cookware popping up all over TikTok and in countless shoppers’ homes. Rachel Simon, Travel + Leisure, 13 Feb. 2024 Experts say implementing a spread can make a potentially lopsided game more suspenseful and keep fans watching til the end even if one team is way ahead. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'way.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Adjective

1836, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near way

Cite this Entry

“Way.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/way. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

way

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a track for travel : path
b
: an opening for passage (as through a crowd or a gate)
no way out
2
a
: a course traveled : route
b
: direction sense 3
come this way
the wrong way
3
a
: a course of action
chose the easy way
b
: opportunity or power of doing as one pleases
have your own way
c
: possibility sense 1
there are no two ways about it
4
a
: the manner in which something is done or happens
this way of thinking
a new way of painting
b
: a noticeable part or detail
a good worker in many ways
c
: state entry 1 sense 1a
the way things are
5
: a particular or typical manner of behavior
it's just his way
has a nice way with his pets
6
a
: distance entry 1 sense 1b
a short way down the road
b
: progress along a course
earning her way through school
made her way with difficulty
7
: locality
visit when you are out our way
8
: category sense 1
get what you need in the way of supplies

way

2 of 2 adverb
1
a
: far entry 1 sense 1
is way ahead of the class
b
: far entry 1 sense 2
ate way too much
c
2
: all the way
pull the switch way back

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