Nearby words

  1. waxworks,
  2. waxy,
  3. waxy degeneration,
  4. waxy kidney,
  5. waxy spleen,
  6. way car,
  7. way of all flesh, the,
  8. way of the cross,
  9. way of the world, the,
  10. way out


Origin of way

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

3. scheme, device. See method. 4. detail, part. 7. space, interval. 10. track. 14. usage, practice, wont.

Related formsway·less, adjective

Can be confusedway weigh weight

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for by the way



a manner, method, or meansa way of life; a way of knowing
a route or directionthe 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 generalyou've come a long way
a passage or journeyon the way
characteristic style or mannerI did it in my own way
(often plural) habits; idiosyncrasieshe has some offensive ways
an aspect of something; particularin 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 homedrop 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
(plural) the wooden or metal tracks down which a ship slides to be launched
a course of life including experiences, conduct, etcthe way of sin
archaic calling or trade
by the way (sentence modifier) in passing or incidentally
by way of
  1. via
  2. serving asby way of introduction
  3. in the state or condition ofby 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
no way informal that is impossible
on the way out informal
  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 pay 1 (def. 11)
see one's way or see one's way clear to find it possible and be willing (to do something)
the way Irish so thatI left early the way I would avoid the traffic
under way having started moving or making progress


  1. at a considerable distance or extentway over yonder
  2. very farthey're way up the mountain
informal by far; considerablyway better
slang truly; genuinelythey have a way cool site

Word Origin for way

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

Word Origin and History for by the 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

Idioms and Phrases with by the way

by the way


In passing, incidentally, as in She's my wife's cousin, and by the way, a good friend. [Mid-1500s]


Parenthetically, in addition, as in We saw Mary last week, and by the way, did Tom call you? [Early 1600s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with way

  • way the wind blows, which
  • way to go

also see:

  • all the way
  • by the way
  • by way of
  • can't punch one's way out of a paper bag
  • come a long way
  • come one's way
  • cut both ways
  • downhill all the way
  • every which way
  • feel one's way
  • find one's way
  • from way back
  • get one's way
  • give way
  • go all the way
  • go a long way toward
  • go one's way
  • go out of one's way
  • go the way of all flesh
  • hard way
  • have a way with
  • have it both ways
  • have one's way with
  • in a bad way
  • in a big way
  • in a way
  • in one's way
  • in the family way
  • in the way
  • in the worst way
  • know all the answers (one's way around)
  • laugh all the way to the bank
  • lead the way
  • look the other way
  • make one's way
  • make way
  • mend one's ways
  • more than one way to skin a cat
  • not built that way
  • no two ways about it
  • no way
  • one way or another
  • on one's way
  • on the way
  • on the way out
  • other way round
  • out of the way
  • parting of the ways
  • pave the way
  • pay one's way
  • pick one's way
  • put in the way of
  • right of way
  • rub the wrong way
  • see one's way to
  • set in one's ways
  • show the way
  • take the wrong way
  • that's how (the way) the ball bounces
  • under way
  • wend one's way
  • work one's way
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.