extra time, space, materials, or the like, within which to operate; margin: With ten minutes' leeway we can catch the train.
a degree of freedom of action or thought: His instructions gave us plenty of leeway.
Also called sag. Nautical. the amount or angle of the drift of a ship to leeward from its heading.
Aeronautics. the amount a plane is blown off its normal course by cross winds.

1660–70; lee1 + way

2. latitude, flexibility, cushion.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
leeway (ˈliːˌweɪ)
1.  room for free movement within limits, as in action or expenditure
2.  sideways drift of a boat or aircraft

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1660s, sideways drift of a ship caused by wind, from lee + way.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Colleges and universities may have more leeway to interpret federal privacy law
  than their officials know.
Apple has a good amount of leeway to introduce in-house computer chips to its
But the government has a lot of leeway to screw it up.
Soldiers typically don't have much sartorial leeway.
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