\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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Brad Hand threw a slider low and away but just hung enough that Anthony Rizzo could drive it the other way into the gap in right-center field. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres notes: Hand's struggles; Richard's survival," 14 July 2018 The only comparison anyone could find was the liberation of Paris in 1944 because of the sense of an opening onto brighter futures, and the ways in which people from all classes and backgrounds merged and melded in the streets. Laurent Dubois, The Atlantic, "France’s Ghosts Return for the World Cup," 14 July 2018 The near six-minute track begins with the 26-year-old rapping about the ways he’s been healing through some of his personal struggles. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Pete Davidson Praises Ariana Grande's Topless Photo as Her Ex Mac Miller Raps About Lost Love," 13 July 2018 So, how was that, to see that story all the way through? Abby Gardner, Glamour, "How a Former Glamour College Woman of the Year Helped Break the Alice Johnson Story," 13 July 2018 There was turmoil, infighting, debate, fall outs on the inside all the way. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Beth Ditto Responds to London Pride TERF Controversy With Inspiring Instagram Post: 'We Keep Trying'," 13 July 2018 The county is part of the Eastern Interconnect grid, which extends north through Oklahoma to the Dakotas all the way to the East Coast. Rye Druzin, Houston Chronicle, "Virginia company to build $1.2 billion Panhandle wind farm," 13 July 2018 The other way derives from the second light source at the rear of the image. Robert E. Gordon, WSJ, "A Multi-Layered Drama," 13 July 2018 Dion Waiters: The Heat need to provide consistent minutes whether to justify the four-year, $60 million investment a year ago or to showcase that Waiters is all the way back from last season's ankle surgery. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "With Ellington back, how do Heat manage glut at shooting guard?," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The latter two might not be easily attainable, but Meghan's skin care routine just became way more feasible to own. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Tatcha Is Having a Ridiculously Good Sale Right Now," 9 Nov. 2018 Very friendly, way more friendly than Supreme, so very friendly. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Palace x Polo Ralph Lauren’s Collab Arrived Today With a Civilized Drop in New York," 9 Nov. 2018 Like mother, like daughter—only way cooler than your average. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Zoe Kravitz Posed Naked in 'Rolling Stone' to Honor Her Mom's Iconic Cover," 29 Oct. 2018 Your exercise routine slows way down or comes to a screeching halt. Jenna Wolfe, Woman's Day, "5 Ways to Fit Exercise In Despite Having a Busy Schedule," 1 Oct. 2018 Sitting at the bus stop for a few extra minutes is way better. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "How traveling abroad with kids showed me how to fix U.S. transit," 14 Sep. 2018 Unlike Thanksgiving, people don’t plan their 4th of July menus way in advance. Bon Appétit, Bon Appetit, "90 Classic 4th of July Recipes to Celebrate Peak Summer in America," 13 June 2018 Both totals were way up from an average of about 280 people in the five years prior, though officials note that the data collection can be haphazard. Elyssa Cherney, chicagotribune.com, "As more fireworks find their way into public's hands, catastrophic injuries on the rise," 2 July 2018 Adidas is putting way more stock into its celebrity partnerships with the likes of Kanye and Pharrell, while Nike is beefing up its partnerships with fashion designers like Kim Jones, Riccardo Tisci, and Virgil Abloh. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Jay-Z Named Head of Puma’s Relaunched Basketball Division," 19 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about way

Statistics for way

Last Updated

30 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for way

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on way

What made you want to look up way? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!