Nautical. hatch2(def 1a).
the opening of any trap door, as in a floor, ceiling, or roof.

Origin of hatchway

First recorded in 1620–30; hatch2 + way1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hatchway

scuttle, hatch

Examples from the Web for hatchway

Historical Examples of hatchway

  • The hatchway ladder was loaded with coolies swarming on it like bees on a branch.


    Joseph Conrad

  • There was no hatchway in view, so I started down to the clerk to make inquiry.

  • Two women were kissing, with little cries, near the hatchway.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • Castro had gone forward into the crowd of scoundrels round the hatchway.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • These were somewhat larger than the other, and had decks like a vessel, with a sort of hatchway.

British Dictionary definitions for hatchway



an opening in the deck of a vessel to provide access below
a similar opening in a wall, floor, ceiling, or roof, usually fitted with a lid or door
Often shortened to: hatch
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 hatchway

1620s, originally nautical, from hatch (n.) + way.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper