a. A road, path, or highway affording passage from one place to another.
b. An opening affording passage: This door is the only way into the attic.
a. Space to proceed: cleared the way for the parade.
b. Opportunity to advance: opened the way to peace.
a. A course that is or may be used in going from one place to another: tried to find the shortest way home.
b. Progress or travel along a certain route or in a specific direction: on her way north.
c. often ways (Used with a sing. verb) Informal Distance: The travelers have come a long way. That village is a good ways off.
a. A course of conduct or action: tried to take the easy way out of the mess he was in.
b. A manner or method of doing something: several ways of solving this problem; had no way to reach her. See Synonyms at method.
c. Used with a personal pronoun as the object of various verbs to indicate progress toward an objective: elbowed his way through the crowd; talked my way into the club; worked his way into a better job.
d. A usual or habitual manner or mode of being, living, or acting: the American way of life.
e. An individual or personal manner of behaving, acting, or doing: Have it your own way.
a. A specific direction: He glanced my way.
b. A participant. Often used in combination: a three-way conversation.
a. An aspect, particular, or feature: resembles his father in many ways; in no way comparable.
b. Nature or category: not much in the way of a plot.
7. Freedom to do as one wishes: if I had my way.
8. An aptitude or facility: She certainly does have a way with words.
9. A state or condition: He is in a bad way financially.
10. Vicinity: Drop in when you're out our way.
11. often ways A longitudinal strip on a surface that serves to guide a moving machine part.
12. ways (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Nautical The structure on which a ship is built and from which it slides when launched.
1. Informal By a great distance or to a great degree; far: way off base; way too expensive.
2. Slang Very; extremely: "Can they really make a car that's way cool?" (Fortune).
3. Informal From this place; away: Go way.
4. Informal Used in response to no way to indicate affirmation contradicting a negative assertion.
all the way
From beginning to end; completely: drove all the way from Detroit to Pittsburgh.
by the way
Incidentally: By the way, you forgot to cash that check.
by way of
1. Through; via: flew to the Far East by way of the polar route.
2. As a means of: made no comment by way of apology.
go out of (one's)/the way
To inconvenience oneself in doing something beyond what is required.
in a way
1. To a certain extent; with reservations: I like the new styles, in a way.
2. From one point of view: In a way, you're right.
in the way
In a position to obstruct, hinder, or interfere.
no way Informal
Certainly not: Did you like that movie?—No way! It was boring.
on (one's)/the way
In the process of coming, going, or traveling: She is on her way out the door. Winter is on the way.
on the way
On the route of a journey: met him on the way to town; ran into them on the way.
out of the way
1. In such a position as not to obstruct, hinder, or interfere.
2. Taken care of; disposed of: some details to get out of the way first.
3. In a remote location.
4. Of an unusual character; remarkable.
5. Improper; amiss: said nothing out of the way.
In the manner that: The way he talks, you'd think he ran the company.
1. In motion or operation.
2. In ongoing development; in progress.
[Middle English, from Old English weg; see wegh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Way has long been an intensifying adverb meaning "to a great degree," as in way over budget. This usage is both acceptable and common but has an informal ring. Way is also used as a general intensifier, as in way cool and way depressing. This usage remains a hallmark of casual speech and is not appropriate for formal contexts. · In American English ways is often used as an equivalent of way in phrases such as a long ways to go. This usage is considered nonstandard by most editors, though it appears occasionally in less formal texts.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus