1. [syn: by the way, by the bye, incidentally, apropos]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Way \Way\, n. [OE. wey, way, AS. weg; akin to OS., D., OHG., &
G. weg, Icel. vegr, Sw. v[aum]g, Dan. vei, Goth. wigs, L.
via, and AS. wegan to move, L. vehere to carry, Skr. vah.
[root]136. Cf. Convex, Inveigh, Vehicle, Vex, Via,
Voyage, Wag, Wagon, Wee, Weigh.]
1. That by, upon, or along, which one passes or processes;
opportunity or room to pass; place of passing; passage;
road, street, track, or path of any kind; as, they built a
way to the mine. "To find the way to heaven." --Shak.
I shall him seek by way and eke by street.
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale.
The season and ways were very improper for his
majesty's forces to march so great a distance.
2. Length of space; distance; interval; as, a great way; a
And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail. --Longfellow.
3. A moving; passage; procession; journey.
I prythee, now, lead the way. --Shak.
4. Course or direction of motion or process; tendency of
If that way be your walk, you have not far.
And let eternal justice take the way. --Dryden.
5. The means by which anything is reached, or anything is
accomplished; scheme; device; plan.
My best way is to creep under his gaberdine. --Shak.
By noble ways we conquest will prepare. --Dryden.
What impious ways my wishes took! --Prior.
6. Manner; method; mode; fashion; style; as, the way of
expressing one's ideas.
7. Regular course; habitual method of life or action; plan of
conduct; mode of dealing. "Having lost the way of
nobleness." --Sir. P. Sidney.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths
are peace. --Prov. iii.
When men lived in a grander way. --Longfellow.
8. Sphere or scope of observation. --Jer. Taylor.
The public ministers that fell in my way. --Sir W.
9. Determined course; resolved mode of action or conduct; as,
to have one's way.
(a) Progress; as, a ship has way.
(b) pl. The timbers on which a ship is launched.
11. pl. (Mach.) The longitudinal guides, or guiding surfaces,
on the bed of a planer, lathe, or the like, along which a
table or carriage moves.
12. (Law) Right of way. See below.
By the way, in passing; apropos; aside; apart from, though
connected with, the main object or subject of discourse.
By way of, for the purpose of; as being; in character of.
Covert way. (Fort.) See Covered way, under Covered.
In the family way. See under Family.
In the way, so as to meet, fall in with, obstruct, hinder,
In the way with, traveling or going with; meeting or being
with; in the presence of.
Milky way. (Astron.) See Galaxy, 1.
No way, No ways. See Noway, Noways, in the
On the way, traveling or going; hence, in process;
advancing toward completion; as, on the way to this
country; on the way to success.
Out of the way. See under Out.
Right of way (Law), a right of private passage over
another's ground. It may arise either by grant or
prescription. It may be attached to a house, entry, gate,
well, or city lot, as well as to a country farm. --Kent.
To be under way, or To have way (Naut.), to be in motion,
as when a ship begins to move.
To give way. See under Give.
To go one's way, or To come one's way, to go or come; to
depart or come along. --Shak.
To go one's way to proceed in a manner favorable to one; --
To come one's way to come into one's possession (of
objects) or to become available, as an opportunity; as,
good things will come your way.
To go the way of all the earth or
to go the way of all flesh to die.
To make one's way, to advance in life by one's personal
To make way. See under Make, v. t.
Ways and means.
(a) Methods; resources; facilities.
(b) (Legislation) Means for raising money; resources for
Way leave, permission to cross, or a right of way across,
land; also, rent paid for such right. [Eng]
Way of the cross (Eccl.), the course taken in visiting in
rotation the stations of the cross. See Station, n., 7
Way of the rounds (Fort.), a space left for the passage of
the rounds between a rampart and the wall of a fortified
Way pane, a pane for cartage in irrigated land. See Pane,
n., 4. [Prov. Eng.]
Way passenger, a passenger taken up, or set down, at some
intermediate place between the principal stations on a
line of travel.
Ways of God, his providential government, or his works.
Way station, an intermediate station between principal
stations on a line of travel, especially on a railroad.
Way train, a train which stops at the intermediate, or way,
stations; an accommodation train.
Way warden, the surveyor of a road.
Syn: Street; highway; road.
Usage: Way, Street, Highway, Road. Way is generic,
denoting any line for passage or conveyance; a highway
is literally one raised for the sake of dryness and
convenience in traveling; a road is, strictly, a way
for horses and carriages; a street is, etymologically,
a paved way, as early made in towns and cities; and,
hence, the word is distinctively applied to roads or
highways in compact settlements.
All keep the broad highway, and take delight
With many rather for to go astray. --Spenser.
There is but one road by which to climb up.
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
By \By\ (b[imac]), prep. [OE. bi, AS. b[imac], big, near to, by,
of, from, after, according to; akin to OS. & OFries. bi, be,
D. bij, OHG. b[imac], G. bei, Goth. bi, and perh. Gr. 'amfi`.
E. prefix be- is orig. the same word. [root]203. See pref.
1. In the neighborhood of; near or next to; not far from;
close to; along with; as, come and sit by me.
By foundation or by shady rivulet
He sought them both. --Milton.
2. On; along; in traversing. Compare 5.
Long labors both by sea and land he bore. --Dryden.
By land, by water, they renew the charge. --Pope.
3. Near to, while passing; hence, from one to the other side
of; past; as, to go by a church.
4. Used in specifying adjacent dimensions; as, a cabin twenty
feet by forty.
5. Against. [Obs.] --Tyndale [1. Cor. iv. 4].
6. With, as means, way, process, etc.; through means of; with
aid of; through; through the act or agency of; as, a city
is destroyed by fire; profit is made by commerce; to take
Note: To the meaning of by, as denoting means or agency,
belong, more or less closely, most of the following
uses of the word:
(a) It points out the author and producer; as, "Waverley",
a novel by Sir W.Scott; a statue by Canova; a sonata
(b) In an oath or adjuration, it indicates the being or
thing appealed to as sanction; as, I affirm to you by
all that is sacred; he swears by his faith as a
Christian; no, by Heaven.
(c) According to; by direction, authority, or example of;
after; -- in such phrases as, it appears by his
account; ten o'clock by my watch; to live by rule; a
model to build by.
(d) At the rate of; according to the ratio or proportion
of; in the measure or quantity of; as, to sell cloth
by the yard, milk by the quart, eggs by the dozen,
meat by the pound; to board by the year.
(e) In comparison, it denotes the measure of excess or
deficiency; when anything is increased or diminished,
it indicates the measure of increase or diminution;
as, larger by a half; older by five years; to lessen
by a third.
(f) It expresses continuance or duration; during the
course of; within the period of; as, by day, by night.
(g) As soon as; not later than; near or at; -- used in
expressions of time; as, by this time the sun had
risen; he will be here by two o'clock.
Note: In boxing the compass, by indicates a pint nearer to,
or towards, the next cardinal point; as, north by east,
i.e., a point towards the east from the north;
northeast by east, i.e., on point nearer the east than
Note: With is used instead of by before the instrument with
which anything is done; as, to beat one with a stick;
the board was fastened by the carpenter with nails. But
there are many words which may be regarded as means or
processes, or, figuratively, as instruments; and
whether with or by shall be used with them is a matter
of arbitrary, and often, of unsettled usage; as, to a
reduce a town by famine; to consume stubble with fire;
he gained his purpose by flattery; he entertained them
with a story; he distressed us with or by a recital of
his sufferings. see With.
By all means, most assuredly; without fail; certainly.
By and by.
(a) Close together (of place). [Obs.] "Two yonge knightes
liggyng [lying] by and by." --Chaucer.
(b) Immediately; at once. [Obs.] "When . . . persecution
ariseth because of the word, by and by he is
offended." --Matt. xiii. 21.
(c) Presently; pretty soon; before long.
Note: In this phrase, by seems to be used in the sense of
nearness in time, and to be repeated for the sake of
emphasis, and thus to be equivalent to "soon, and
soon," that is instantly; hence, -- less emphatically,
-- pretty soon, presently.
By one's self, with only one's self near; alone; solitary.
By the bye. See under Bye.
By the head (Naut.), having the bows lower than the stern;
-- said of a vessel when her head is lower in the water
than her stern. If her stern is lower, she is by the
By the lee, the situation of a vessel, going free, when she
has fallen off so much as to bring the wind round her
stern, and to take her sails aback on the other side.
By the run, to let go by the run, to let go altogether,
instead of slacking off.
By the way, by the bye; -- used to introduce an incidental
or secondary remark or subject.
Day by day, One by one, Piece by piece, etc., each day,
each one, each piece, etc., by itself singly or
separately; each severally.
To come by, to get possession of; to obtain.
To do by, to treat, to behave toward.
To set by, to value, to esteem.
To stand by, to aid, to support.
Note: The common phrase good-by is equivalent to farewell,
and would be better written good-bye, as it is a
corruption of God be with you (b'w'ye).
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
by the way
adv 1: introducing a different topic; in point of fact;
"incidentally, I won't go to the party" [syn: by the
way, by the bye, incidentally, apropos]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
29 Moby Thesaurus words for "by the way":
a propos, accidental, aimless, apropos, apropos of, by the by,
by-the-way, casual, desultory, deviative, digressive, discursive,
en passant, episodic, excursive, for example, in passing,
incidental, incidentally, loose, maundering, occasional,
par exemple, parenthetical, parenthetically, rambling, roving,
speaking of, wandering