\ 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 combinationthree-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 ofdoesn'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 Shohei Ohtani returns to the mound after a disastrous season debut last Sunday in which the Angels' two-way star couldn't record an out in Oakland. Greg Beacham, Houston Chronicle, "Angels rally twice to beat Astros in 10 innings," 1 Aug. 2020 The Celtics have talented two-way players, some of whom are on the verge of stardom and will be the league’s top players for the next decade. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Celtics have talent to beat Bucks, Antetokounmpo in possible playoff matchup, but will they put it all together?," 1 Aug. 2020 Assembly District 14: Republicans have a three-way primary to pick a challenger to Democratic incumbent Robyn Vining. Oren Oppenheim, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Voter guide: What you should know for the Aug. 11 primary elections in Wisconsin," 31 July 2020 The shorts also feature a lightweight, four-way stretch material and a back pocket that can fit a smartphone. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Cooling Clothing That Will Keep You Comfortable All Summer Long," 30 July 2020 Microbiologists generally do not consider that a new strain has been created until a mutation changes something significant about the way the virus behaves, which is what some researchers think happened in the case of the G strain. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "A new strain of the coronavirus is dominant now. Is it more contagious?," 30 July 2020 Griebel received the endorsement of the Hartford Courant newspaper but lost in a three-way race to Democratic Governor Ned Lamont after being vastly outspent. Susan Haigh, BostonGlobe.com, "Oz Griebel, 71; twice ran for Conn. governor," 30 July 2020 This past season, the enhanced connection between the two teams helped the development of Lou Dort, who signed a two-way contract with the Thunder last summer after going undrafted. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Pistons' plan for G League team in Detroit will be 'huge plus'," 30 July 2020 The way people keep living, even in conflict zones. National Geographic, "Episode 7: The Failing of War Photography," 28 July 2020 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 All of this is prime fodder for satire, but Trost plays it way too broadly. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "Seth Rogen is good in HBO Max's 'An American Pickle' but the film can't figure itself out," 3 Aug. 2020 Adding to the problem, wide-scale testing at the start was way behind schedule. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "The U.K. has one of the highest COVID-19 death tolls on earth. What happened?," 2 Aug. 2020 Portland coach Terry Stotts lamented the fact that Portland fouled way too often, allowing Memphis to spend a lot of time at the free throw line, especially in the first half. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers face Boston Celtics Sunday: Preview, time, TV channel, how to watch live stream online," 2 Aug. 2020 Proto uses a 22-quart stockpot to make his stock, which is way too big for most of us. Marshall Bright, CNN Underscored, "Cooking from scratch: 6 delicious cooking projects to tackle while staying home," 31 July 2020 Even so, rental inquiries were up 33 percent over January while flight travel is still way off, indicating that leisure travelers are driving more. Washington Post, "Bayer did not report thousands of Essure complaints to FDA, lawsuit filing alleges," 10 July 2020 Since December, temperatures across Siberia have been way above normal due to a persistent ridge of high pressure air parked over the area that has produced warm, sunny weather, melting the snowpack early. Madeleine Stone, National Geographic, "A heat wave thawed Siberia's tundra. Now, it's on fire.," 6 July 2020 Biden is way out in front of Trump, well beyond the poll’s margin of error. David Paleologos, USA TODAY, "Paleologos on the Poll: First we couldn't talk politics at Thanksgiving. Now, the 4th?," 3 July 2020 Due to Covid-19, that number is way off, says Harvard Business School economist Alberto Cavallo, one of the world’s leading researchers on inflation. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "Covid-19 is distorting inflation numbers around the world," 17 June 2020

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

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Way.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/way. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for way


How to pronounce way (audio)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of way

Nglish: Translation of way for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of way for Arabic Speakers

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