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[hed-wey] /ˈhɛdˌweɪ/
forward movement; progress in a forward direction:
The ship's headway was slowed by the storm.
progress in general:
headway in a career.
rate of progress:
a slight headway against concerted opposition.
the time interval or distance between two vehicles, as automobiles, ships, or railroad or subway cars, traveling in the same direction over the same route.
make headway, to proceed forward; advance; progress.
Origin of headway1
First recorded in 1700-10; (a)head + way1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for make headway
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We could make headway only by keeping very close to the bank.

    A Canyon Voyage Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
  • They found, however, that it was no easy matter to make headway.

  • But the praetorian guard, faithful to me, was unable to make headway.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • He threw it over, and met the boat with the helm when she began to make headway.

    Down South Oliver Optic
  • It was satisfactory to find that we did make headway, though slowly.

    The Three Lieutenants W.H.G. Kingston
  • Slugs like it, but do not make headway against it in many gardens.

    The Children's Book of Gardening Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick
British Dictionary definitions for make headway


motion in a forward direction: the vessel made no headway
progress or rate of progress: he made no headway with the problem
another name for headroom
the distance or time between consecutive trains, buses, etc, on the same route
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for make headway



c.1300, "main road, highway," from Old English heafodweg (see head (adj.) + way). Sense of "motion forward" first attested 1748, short for ahead-way; ultimately nautical (cf. leeway).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with make headway

make headway

Advance, make progress, as in We haven't made any headway with this project. This expression, first recorded in 1887, uses headway in the nautical sense of “a vessel's forward movement.”


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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