Definition of way noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//weɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//weɪ//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [countable] a method, style or manner of doing something way to do something That's not the right way to hold a pair of scissors. (informal, disapproving) That's no way to speak to your mother! way of doing something I'm not happy with this way of working. way (that…) It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it. I hate the way she always criticizes me. I told you we should have done it my way! Infectious diseases can be acquired in several ways. I generally get what I want one way or another (= by some means). see also third way
  2. behaviour
  3. 2  [countable] a particular manner or style of behaviour They grinned at her in a friendly way. It was not his way to admit that he had made a mistake. Don't worry, if she seems quiet—it's just her way. He was showing off, as is the way with adolescent boys.
  4. 3ways [plural] the typical way of behaving and living of a particular group of people After ten years I'm used to the strange British ways.
  5. route/road
  6. 4  [countable, usually singular] way (from…) (to…) a route or road that you take in order to reach a place the best/quickest/shortest way from A to B Can you tell me the way to Leicester Square? to ask somebody the way We went the long way round.
  7. 5  [countable, usually singular] the route along which somebody/something is moving; the route that somebody/something would take if there was nothing stopping them/it Get out of my way! I'm in a hurry. Riot police with shields were blocking the demonstrators' way. We fought our way through the dense vegetation. Unfortunately they ran into a snowstorm along the way. see also right of way
  8. 6[countable] a road, path or street for travelling along There's a way across the fields. see also freeway, highway, motorway, railway, waterway
  9. 7  Way used in the names of streets 106 Headley Way
  10. direction
  11. 8  [countable, usually singular] which, this, that, etc. way a particular direction; in a particular direction Which way did they go? We just missed a car coming the other way. Look both ways (= look left and right) before crossing the road. Make sure that sign's the right way up. Kids were running this way and that (= in all directions). They decided to split the money four ways (= between four different people). (figurative) Which way (= for which party) are you going to vote? see also each way, one-way, three-way, two-way
  12. for entering/leaving
  13. 9  [countable, usually singular] a means of going into or leaving a place, such as a door or gate the way in/out They escaped out the back way. see also companionway
  14. distance/time
  15. 10  [singular] (also North American English, informal ways) a distance or period of time between two points A little way up on the left is the Museum of Modern Art. September was a long way off. (figurative) The area's wine industry still has a way to go to full maturity. You came all this way to see us? (North American English, informal) We still have a ways to go.
  16. area
  17. 11[singular] (informal) an area, a part of a country, etc. I think he lives somewhere over Greenwich way. I'll stop by and see you next time I'm down your way.
  18. aspect
  19. 12  [countable] a particular aspect of something synonym respect I have changed in every way. It's been quite a day, one way and another (= for several reasons).
  20. condition/state
  21. 13[singular] a particular condition or state The economy's in a bad way. I don't know how we're going to manage, the way things are.
  22. Word OriginOld English weg, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch weg and German Weg, from a base meaning ‘move, carry’.Extra examples A fallen tree blocked the way. Artists began to invent new ways of painting. Can I help you in any way? Can you tell me the way out of here? Could you please get those boxes out of my way? Do you know the way? Do you remember? Or, put another way, do you know? Fate has a way of changing the best of plans. God works in mysterious ways. Grandma is so set in her ways. Have any interesting articles come your way recently? He couldn’t find a way through the bracken. He edged his way along the wall. He had somehow wormed his way into her affections. He had to navigate his way through the city’s one-way streets. He learned about the dangers of drugs the hard way. He looked my way, but didn’t seem to recognize me. He showed us the way. He then started spending money in a big way. He took the easy way out and paid someone to write the article for him. He wanted to go to college and would let nothing stand in his way. He was a handsome man in a sinister sort of way. He was attractive in his own way. He’s always gone his own way when it comes to design. I chose a different way of collecting data. I watched the movie the whole way through. I went the opposite way. I would think of some clever way to get myself out of this situation. I’m going your way, so we can walk together. In a certain way, all of that is true. It’s more interesting, in some ways, to watch what’s going on behind the scenes here. It’s quite a way from my house to the shops. Let’s keep out of her way while she’s in such a bad mood. Look both ways before crossing the road. Most people are creative in one way or another. Newspapers have ways and means of getting hold of secret information. On the way back, he invited me to his home for drinks. One way or another, I’m going to make it. She asked him the way to the station. She bluffed her way through the exam. She fought her way up to the top of the company. She is content with the way things are. She isn’t known for her winning ways. She lost her way in the fog. She went out of her way to help them. Students develop those skills in myriad ways. The best way to open it is with pliers. The library is slightly out of my way. The most important way to stop accidental drownings is by education. The procession snaked its way through the town. The river wound its way through the valley. The study of genes has come a long way in recent years. The supermarket is a bit out of my way. The team got back to their winning ways with a 2–1 victory. The way across the fields is longer but pleasanter. The way things are going, I think that’s achievable. The way through the woods is quicker. The withdrawal of troops should clear the way for a peace settlement. Then he went off on his merry way. There are a number of ways to overcome this problem. There is no subtle way to tell someone that you no longer want them. There were several rocks in the way. There’s a huge storm heading this way. They believe he’ll figure out a way to make it work. They have never contributed in any meaningful way to our civilization. They’re alike in more ways than one. They’re different in every way. They’ve explored every possible way of dealing with the problem. They’ve gone the wrong way. This bus doesn’t go all the way so you’ll have to change. This is a roundabout way of saying that nothing has been accomplished. This project seems to have lost its way. Try it the other way around. Walk this way, please. Way to go! I wish I could do that! We are searching for innovative and creative ways to solve the many problems facing us. We did it the old-fashioned way. We didn’t stop on the way north. We expect computers to react a certain way, in certain situations. We had to go a long way before we found a place to eat. We parted ways once we went off to college. We picked our way carefully over the jagged rocks. We saw a dreadful accident along the way. We stopped for a drink on the way home. We walked along the covered way to the science building. We will eventually find a way out of the crisis. When we finished school, we all went our separate ways. Which way did she go? Which way up does this box go? Your birthday is still some way off. Your father is unlikely to change his ways now. a cost-effective way to boost performance a sure-fire way to get him to do whatever I want a unique way of settling disputes the beliefs and practices of the Hindu way of life the easiest way from my house to yours the whole way to Arizona to look at ways of improving language teaching ‘Hi there,’ said Tom in a friendly way. A fallen tree was blocking their way. Get out of my way! I’m in a hurry! He certainly learned the hard way. He has a way of staring at you that is very unnerving. He narrowly avoided a car coming the other way. I didn’t know the way and I had no map. I generally get what I want one way or another. I like the way (that) you did that. I prefer to do things the easy way. I stopped to ask the way. I think they must have gone the long way round. Infectious diseases can be passed on in several different ways. Is this the right way to the station? Is this the way in/​out? She always said that the old ways were the best. She spoke in a way that put everyone at their ease. She was going my way, so we talked as we walked. She’s behaving in a very mysterious way. That’s not the way to hold a pair of scissors! The quickest way to the house is through the woods. There are several possible ways of dealing with this problem. They bought some supplies on the way. They had to fight their way through the crowd. They inched their way along the tunnel. They ran into a snowstorm along the way. They were asked to come up with ways of working more efficiently. This is the best way of keeping in touch with friends while you’re away. Try to approach this in a sensible way. We should have done it my way! What way would you use? You won’t impress the judges that way.Idioms
    across the way (British English also over the way)
    jump to other results
    on the other side of the street, etc. Music blared from the open window of the house across the way.
    1. 1  (also the whole way) during the whole journey/period of time She didn't speak a word to me all the way back home.
    2. 2completely; as much as it takes to achieve what you want I'm fighting him all the way. You can feel that the audience is with her all the way.
    (that’s/it’s) always the way
    jump to other results
    (informal) used to say that things often happen in a particular way, especially when it is not convenient
    (North American English, informal) however you choose to look at a situation
    be/be born/be made that way
    jump to other results
    (of a person) to behave or do things in a particular manner because it is part of your character It's not his fault he's so pompous—he was born that way.
      be (all) downhill, be downhill all the way (informal)
      jump to other results
    1. 1to be easy compared to what came before It's all downhill from here. We'll soon be finished.
    2. 2to become worse or less successful It's been all downhill for his career since then, with four defeats in five games. I started work as a journalist and it was downhill all the way for my health.
    to have habits or opinions that you have had for a long time and that you do not want to change
    be well on the way to something/doing something
    jump to other results
    to have nearly achieved something and be going to achieve it soon She is well on the way to recovery. He is well on the way to establishing himself among the top ten players in the world.
    by a great amount He was the best by a long way.
    by the way (also by the by/bye)
    jump to other results
     (informal) used to introduce a comment or question that is not directly related to what you have been talking about By the way, I found that book you were looking for. What's the time, by the way? Oh by the way, if you see Jackie, tell her I'll call her this evening.
    by a route that includes the place mentioned synonym via The artist recently arrived in Paris from Bulgaria by way of Vienna. She came to TV by way of drama school.
    by way of/in the way of something
    jump to other results
    as a form of something; for something; as a means of something He received £600 by way of compensation from the company. She rolled her eyes by way of an answer and left.
    to start to live or behave in a different way from before He was in trouble with the police as a teenager but now he’s completely changed his ways.
    claw your way back, into something, out of something, to something, etc.
    jump to other results
    to gradually achieve something or move somewhere by using a lot of determination and effort She clawed her way to the top of her profession. Slowly, he clawed his way out from under the collapsed building.
    clear the way (for something/for something to happen)
    jump to other results
    to remove things that are stopping the progress or movement of something The ruling could clear the way for extradition proceedings.
    to happen to you by chance, or when you were not expecting it He took whatever came his way. (of an action, argument, etc.) to have two opposite effects or results
    either way, one way or the other
    jump to other results
    used to say that it does not matter which one of two possibilities happens, is chosen or is true Was it his fault or not? Either way, an explanation is due. We could meet today or tomorrow—I don't mind one way or the other.
    (informal) in all directions Her hair tumbled every which way.
    1. 1to move along carefully, for example when it is dark, by touching walls, objects, etc.
    2. 2to be careful about how you do things, usually because you are in a situation that you are not familiar with She was new in the job, still feeling her way.
    to discover the right route (to a place) I hope you can find your way home.
    find your/its way (to/into…)
    jump to other results
    to come to a place or a situation by chance or without intending to He eventually found his way into acting.
    get into/out of the way of (doing) something
    jump to other results
    to become used to doing something/to lose the habit of doing something The women had got into the way of going up on the deck every evening.
    to prevent somebody from doing something; to prevent something from happening He wouldn't allow emotions to get in the way of him doing his job. to get or do what you want, especially when somebody has tried to stop you She always gets her own way in the end. to break or fall down The pillars gave way and a section of the roof collapsed. Her numb leg gave way beneath her and she stumbled clumsily.
      give way (to somebody/something)
      jump to other results
    1. 1to stop resisting somebody/something; to agree to do something that you do not want to do He refused to give way on any of the points.
    2. 2(British English) to allow somebody/something to be or go first Give way to traffic already on the roundabout.
    1. 1to allow yourself to be very strongly affected by something, especially an emotion Flinging herself on the bed, she gave way to helpless misery.
    2. 2to be replaced by something The storm gave way to bright sunshine. As he drew nearer, his anxiety gave way to relief.
    go all the way (with somebody)
    jump to other results
    (informal) to have full sexual intercourse with somebody
    (of two or more people) to have known each other for a long time We go back a long way, he and I. (of money, food, etc.) to last a long time She seems to make her money go a long way. A small amount of this paint goes a long way (= covers a large area). (ironic) I find that a little of Jerry's company can go a long way (= I quickly get tired of being with him).
    go a long/some way towards doing something
    jump to other results
    to help very much/a little in achieving something The new law goes a long way towards solving the problem.
    go out of your way (to do something)
    jump to other results
    to make a special effort to do something He would always go out of his way to be friendly towards her.
    to do as you choose, especially when somebody has advised you against it It's best to let her go her own way if you don't want a fight.
    1. 1to end a relationship with somebody When the business was sold they went their separate ways.
    2. 2to go in a different direction from somebody you have been travelling with
    1. 1to travel in the same direction as somebody I'm going your way—I'll walk with you.
    2. 2(of events) to go well for you; to be in your favour By the third round he knew the fight was going his way.
    go the way of all flesh
    jump to other results
    (saying) to die
    difficult to understand or needing a lot of effort I'm finding his latest novel very hard going. to have made a lot of progress We've come a long way since the early days of the project.
    have your head screwed on (the right way)
    jump to other results
    (informal) to be a sensible person
    to have or want to have the advantages of two different situations or ways of behaving that are impossible to combine You can't have it both ways. If you can afford to go out all the time, you can afford to pay off some of your debts. (informal) used to say in an angry way that although you are not happy about something that somebody has said, you are not going to argue Oh OK, then. Have it your own way.
    have it/things/everything your own way
    jump to other results
    to have what you want, especially by opposing other people
    to need to make a lot of progress before you can achieve something She still has a long way to go before she's fully fit.
    have a way of doing something
    jump to other results
    used to say that something often happens in a particular way, especially when it is out of your control First love affairs have a way of not working out.
    have a way with somebody/something
    jump to other results
    to be good at dealing with somebody/something He has a way with small children. She has a way with words (= is very good at expressing herself).
    have your (wicked) way with somebody
    jump to other results
    (old-fashioned, humorous) to persuade somebody to have sex with you
    in any (way,) shape or form
    jump to other results
    (informal) of any type I don't approve of violence in any shape or form.
    on a large/small scale The new delivery service has taken off in a big way. Many people are investing in a small way in the stock market.
    (be/get) in the family way
    jump to other results
    (old-fashioned, informal) (to be/become) pregnant
    used to show that a statement has more than one meaning With the first goal he used his head in more ways than one. (British English) used to say what normally happens in a particular situation In the ordinary way, she's not a nervous person.
    in your own sweet time/way
    jump to other results
    how and when you want to, even though this might annoy other people He always does the work, but in his own sweet time.
    in her, his, its, etc. (own) way
    jump to other results
    in a manner that is appropriate to or typical of a person or thing but that may seem unusual to other people I expect she does love you in her own way. The building is very attractive in its own way.
    in a way, in one way, in some ways
    jump to other results
    to some extent; not completely In a way it was one of our biggest mistakes.
    in the/somebody’s way
    jump to other results
     stopping somebody from moving or doing something You'll have to move—you're in my way. I left them alone, as I felt I was in the way.
    in the way of something
    jump to other results
    used in questions and negative sentences to talk about the types of something that are available There isn't much in the way of entertainment in this place.
    keep/stay out of somebody’s way
    jump to other results
     to avoid somebody
    to be familiar with a place, subject, etc.
    laugh all the way to the bank
    jump to other results
    (informal) to make a lot of money easily and feel very pleased about it
    lie your way into/out of something
    jump to other results
    to get yourself into or out of a situation by lying
    to deliberately avoid seeing somebody/something Prison officers know what's going on, but look the other way.
    1. 1  to become lost We lost our way in the dark.
    2. 2to forget or move away from the purpose or reason for something I feel that the project has lost its way.
    make your way (to/towards something)
    jump to other results
    to move or get somewhere; to make progress Will you be able to make your own way to the airport (= get there without help, a ride, etc.)? Is this your plan for making your way in the world?
    make way (for somebody/something)
    jump to other results
    to allow somebody/something to pass; to allow somebody/something to take the place of somebody/something Make way for the Lord Mayor! Tropical forest is felled to make way for grassland.
    to stop behaving badly
    (steer, take, etc.) a middle course, (find, etc.) a/the middle way
    jump to other results
    (to take/find) an acceptable course of action that avoids two extreme positions
    (there are) no two ways about it
    jump to other results
    (saying) used to show that you are certain about something It was the wrong decision—there are no two ways about it.
     (informal) used to say that there is no possibility that you will do something or that something will happen ‘Do you want to help?’ ‘No way!’ No way am I going to drive them there. There's no way we could afford that sort of money.
    1. 1  going or coming I'd better be on my way (= I must leave) soon. The letter should be on its way to you.
    2. 2  during the journey He stopped for breakfast on the way. She grabbed her camera and bag on her way out.
    3. 3(of a baby) not yet born They've got three kids and one on the way.
    open the way for somebody/something (to do something)
    jump to other results
    to make it possible for somebody to do something or for something to happen The agreement could open the way for the country to pay off its debts.
    1. 1  in the opposite position, direction or order I think it should go on the other way round.
    2. 2  the opposite situation I didn't leave you. It was the other way round (= you left me).
    in a safe place where somebody/something cannot be hurt or injured or do any damage to somebody/something She put the knife in a drawer, out of harm’s way. I prefer the children to play in the garden where they’re out of harm’s way.
    1. 1  no longer stopping somebody from moving or doing something I moved my legs out of the way so that she could get past. I didn't say anything until Dad was out of the way.
    2. 2finished; dealt with Our region is poised for growth once the election is out of the way.
    3. 3used in negative sentences to mean ‘unusual’ She had obviously noticed nothing out of the way.
    4. see also out-of-the-way
    not on the route that you planned to take I'd love a ride home—if it's not out of your way.
    a/the parting of the ways
    jump to other results
    a point at which two people or groups of people decide to separate These events led to a final parting of the ways.
    pave the way (for somebody/something)
    jump to other results
    to create a situation in which somebody will be able to do something or something can happen. This decision paved the way for changes in employment rights for women.
    (of a business, etc.) to make enough money to pay what it costs to keep it going The bridge is still not paying its way. to pay for everything yourself without having to rely on anyone else’s money
    pick your way (across, along, among, over, through something)
    jump to other results
    to walk carefully, choosing the safest, driest, etc. place to put your feet She picked her way delicately over the rough ground.
    rub somebody up the wrong way (British English) (North American English rub somebody the wrong way)
    jump to other results
    (informal) to make somebody annoyed or angry, often without intending to, by doing or saying something that offends them She tends to rub people up the wrong way. See related entries: Anger
    see, realize, etc. the error of your ways
    jump to other results
    (formal or humorous) to realize or admit that you have done something wrong and decide to change your behaviour
    see your way (clear) to doing something/to do something
    jump to other results
    to find that it is possible or convenient to do something Small builders cannot see their way clear to take on many trainees.
    see which way the wind is blowing
    jump to other results
    to get an idea of what is likely to happen before doing something
    to do something first so that other people can follow to make it easier for somebody/something to develop or make progress These negotiations are intended to smooth the path to a peace treaty. We’re trying to smooth the way for women who want to resume their careers.
    (not) stand in somebody’s way
    jump to other results
    to (not) prevent somebody from doing something If you believe you can make her happy, I won't stand in your way.
    (informal) to be bisexual (= sexually attracted to both men and women) to end a difficult situation by choosing the simplest solution even if it is not the best one He took the easy way out and didn’t go to the meeting.
    take something the wrong way
    jump to other results
    to be offended by a remark that was not intended to be offensive She always takes things the wrong way.
    talk your way out of something/of doing something
    jump to other results
    to make excuses and give reasons for not doing something; to manage to get yourself out of a difficult situation I managed to talk my way out of having to give a speech.
    that’s the way the cookie crumbles
    jump to other results
    (informal) that is the situation and we cannot change it, so we must accept it
    there’s more than one way to skin a cat
    jump to other results
    (saying, humorous) there are many different ways to achieve something
    in my opinion
    under way (also underway)
    jump to other results
    having started Preparations are well under way for a week of special events in May.
    a way into something (also a way in to something)
    jump to other results
    something that allows you to join a group of people, an industry, etc. that it is difficult to join, or to understand something that it is difficult to understand
    a/the/somebody’s way of life
    jump to other results
     the typical pattern of behaviour of a person or group the American way of life
    the way that most people behave; the way that things happen, which you cannot change The rich and powerful make the decisions—that's the way of the world. (North American English, informal) used to say that somebody else has either to agree with your opinion or to leave the methods and materials available for doing something ways and means of raising money (North American English, informal) used to tell somebody that you are pleased about something they have done Good work, guys! Way to go!
    the way to somebody’s heart
    jump to other results
    the way to make somebody like or love you The way to a man's heart is through his stomach (= by giving him good food).
    where there’s a will there’s a way
    jump to other results
    (saying) if you really want to do something then you will find a way of doing it
    work your way through something
    jump to other results
    to do something from beginning to end, especially when it takes a lot of time or effort She worked her way through the pile of documents.
    work your way through college, round the world, etc.
    jump to other results
    to have a job or series of jobs while studying, travelling, etc. in order to pay for your education, etc.
    to move regularly to a more senior position in a company He worked his way up from messenger boy to account executive.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: way