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[wey] /weɪ/
manner, mode, or fashion:
a new way of looking at a matter; to reply in a polite way.
characteristic or habitual manner:
Her way is to work quietly and never complain.
a method, plan, or means for attaining a goal:
to find a way to reduce costs.
a respect or particular:
The plan is defective in several ways.
a direction or vicinity:
Look this way. We're having a drought out our way.
passage or progress on a course:
to make one's way on foot; to lead the way.
Often, ways. distance:
They've come a long way.
a path or course leading from one place to another:
What's the shortest way to town?
  1. an old Roman or pre-Roman road:
    Icknield Way.
  2. a minor street in a town:
    He lives in Stepney Way.
a road, route, passage, or channel (usually used in combination):
highway; waterway; doorway.
Law. a right of way.
any line of passage or travel, used or available:
to blaze a way through dense woods.
space for passing or advancing:
to clear a way through the crowd.
Often, ways. a habit or custom:
The grandmother lived by the ways of the old country.
course or mode of procedure that one chooses or wills:
They had to do it my way.
condition, as to health, prosperity, or the like:
to be in a bad way.
range or extent of experience or notice:
the best device that ever came in my way.
a course of life, action, or experience:
The way of transgressors is hard.
Informal. business:
to be in the haberdashery way.
  1. ways, two or more ground ways down which a hull slides in being launched.
  2. movement or passage through the water.
Machinery. a longitudinal strip, as in a planer, guiding a moving part along a surface.
by the way, in the course of one's remarks; incidentally:
By the way, have you received that letter yet?
by way of,
  1. by the route of; through; via.
  2. as a method or means of:
    to number articles by way of distinguishing them.
  3. British. in the state or position of (being, doing, etc.); ostensibly:
    He is by way of being an authority on the subject.
come one's way, to come to one; befall one:
A bit of good fortune came my way.
give way,
  1. to withdraw or retreat:
    The army gave way before the advance of the enemy.
  2. to collapse; yield; break down:
    You will surely give way under the strain of overwork.
give way to,
  1. to yield to:
    He gave way to their entreaties.
  2. to become unrestrained or uninhibited; lose control of (one's temper, emotions, etc.):
    I gave way to my rage and ordered them from the house.
go all the way, Slang.
  1. to do completely or wholeheartedly.
  2. to take a decisive action, especially one from which no retreat is possible:
    Neither side wants to go all the way with nuclear warfare.
  3. to engage in sexual intercourse.
go out of one's way, to do something that inconveniences one; make an unusual effort:
Please don't go out of your way on my account.
have a way with, to have a charming, persuasive, or effective manner of dealing with:
He has a way with children; to have a way with words.
have one's way with, (especially of a man) to have sexual intercourse with, sometimes by intimidating or forcing one's partner.
in a family way, pregnant.
in a way, after a fashion; to some extent:
In a way, she's the nicest person I know.
in someone's way, forming a hindrance, impediment, or obstruction:
She might have succeeded in her ambition, had not circumstances been in her way.
Also, in the way.
lead the way,
  1. to go along a course in advance of others, as a guide.
  2. to take the initiative; be first or most prominent:
    In fashion she has always led the way.
make one's way,
  1. to go forward; proceed:
    to make one's way through the mud.
  2. to achieve recognition or success; advance:
    to make one's way in the world.
make way,
  1. to allow to pass; clear the way:
    Make way for the king!
  2. to relinquish to another; withdraw:
    He resigned to make way for a younger man.
  3. Nautical. to make forward or astern progress even though engines are not running.
no way, Informal. not under any circumstances; no:
Apologize to him? No way!
out of the way,
  1. in a state or condition so as not to obstruct or hinder.
  2. dealt with; disposed of:
    I feel better, now that one problem is out of the way.
  3. murdered:
    to have a person put out of the way.
  4. out of the frequented way; at a distance from the usual route.
  5. improper; amiss:
    There was something decidedly out of the way about her explanation.
  6. extraordinary; unusual:
    Such behavior was out of the way for him.
pave the way to / for. pave (def 3).
see one's way clear, to regard as suitable or possible; consider seriously:
We couldn't see our way clear to spending so much money at once.
Also, see one's way.
take one's way, to start out; travel; go:
He took his way across the park and headed uptown.
Origin of way1
before 900; Middle English wei(gh)e, wai, Old English weg; cognate with Dutch, German Weg, Old Norse vegr, Gothic wigs; akin to Latin vehere to carry
Related forms
wayless, adjective
Can be confused
way, weigh, weight.
3. scheme, device. See method. 4. detail, part. 7. space, interval. 10. track. 14. usage, practice, wont. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for make way
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His comrade, less fortunate, at least contrived to make way to Ireland and then to France.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Jarrett and Abbey caused the crowd to make way, and I got out.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • But my most urgent task was speedily to make way with the incriminating corpse.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • make way, all you habits and all you institutions, all you little creeds and gods.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Observe, they are moving off now to make way for the pretty girls and boys.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • There are men that the densest crowd will part and make way for.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for make way


a manner, method, or means: a way of life, a way of knowing
a route or direction: the way home
  1. a means or line of passage, such as a path or track
  2. (in combination): waterway
space or room for movement or activity (esp in the phrases make way, in the way, out of the way)
distance, usually distance in general: you've come a long way
a passage or journey: on the way
characteristic style or manner: I did it in my own way
(often pl) habits; idiosyncrasies: he has some offensive ways
an aspect of something; particular: in many ways he was right
  1. a street in or leading out of a town
  2. (capital when part of a street name): Icknield Way
something that one wants in a determined manner (esp in the phrases get or have one's (own) way)
the experience or sphere in which one comes into contact with things (esp in the phrase come one's way)
(informal) a state or condition, usually financial or concerning health (esp in the phrases in a good (or bad) way)
(informal) the area or direction of one's home: drop in if you're ever over my way
movement of a ship or other vessel
a right of way in law
a guide along which something can be moved, such as the surface of a lathe along which the tailstock slides
(pl) the wooden or metal tracks down which a ship slides to be launched
a course of life including experiences, conduct, etc: the way of sin
(archaic) calling or trade
(sentence modifier) by the way, in passing or incidentally
by way of
  1. via
  2. serving as: by way of introduction
  3. in the state or condition of: by way of being an artist
each way, (of a bet) laid on a horse, dog, etc, to win or gain a place
give way
  1. to collapse or break down
  2. to withdraw or yield
give way to
  1. to step aside for or stop for
  2. to give full rein to (emotions, etc)
go out of one's way, to take considerable trouble or inconvenience oneself
have a way with, to have such a manner or skill as to handle successfully
have it both ways, to enjoy two things that would normally contradict each other or be mutually exclusive
in a way, in some respects
in no way, not at all
lead the way
  1. to go first
  2. to set an example or precedent
make one's way
  1. to proceed or advance
  2. to achieve success in life
(informal) no way, that is impossible
(informal) on the way out
  1. becoming unfashionable, obsolete, etc
  2. dying
out of the way
  1. removed or dealt with so as to be no longer a hindrance
  2. remote
  3. unusual and sometimes improper
pay one's way, See pay1 (sense 11)
see one's way, see one's way clear, to find it possible and be willing (to do something)
(Irish) the way, so that: I left early the way I would avoid the traffic
under way, having started moving or making progress
  1. at a considerable distance or extent: way over yonder
  2. very far: they're way up the mountain
(informal) by far; considerably: way better
(slang) truly; genuinely: they have a way cool site
Word Origin
Old English weg; related to Old Frisian wei, Old Norse vegr, Gothic wigs
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 way



Old English weg "road, path, course of travel," from Proto-Germanic *wegaz (cf. Old Saxon, Dutch weg, Old Norse vegr, Old Frisian wei, Old High German weg, German Weg, Gothic wigs "way"), from PIE *wegh- "to move" (see weigh). Most of the extended senses developed in Middle English. Adverbial meaning "very, extremely" is by 1986, perhaps from phrase all the way. Ways and means "resources at a person's disposal" is attested from early 15c. Way-out (adj.) "original, bold," is jazz slang, first recorded 1940s. Encouragement phrase way to go is short for that's the way to go.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for make way



Very; extremely; absolutely; to the max: one of the way coolest in the US (1980s+)


Yes; on the contrary •Used as a response to the negative ''No way!'' (1990s+)

Related Terms

beat one's way, the french way, go out of one's way, go the limit, the greek way, the hard way, in a big way, know one's way around, not a one-way street, no way, rub someone the wrong way, there's no way

[May have developed from all the way, attested along with way, both meaning ''very'' in prison slang of the 1980s]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with make way

make way

Allow room for passage, move aside, as in Please make way for the wheelchair. This expression was first recorded about 1200.
Also,make way for. Leave room for a successor or substitute, as in It's time he retired and made way for some younger professor. [ Mid-1700s ]
Progress, advance, as in Is this enterprise making way? [ Late 1500s ]
For a synonym, see make headway
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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