See more synonyms for headway on Thesaurus.com
  1. forward movement; progress in a forward direction: The ship's headway was slowed by the storm.
  2. progress in general: headway in a career.
  3. rate of progress: a slight headway against concerted opposition.
  4. 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.
  1. make headway, to proceed forward; advance; progress.

Origin of headway

First recorded in 1700–10; (a)head + way1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for make headway


  1. motion in a forward directionthe vessel made no headway
  2. progress or rate of progresshe made no headway with the problem
  3. another name for headroom
  4. 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

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

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.”


see make headway.

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