make headway


1 [hed-wey]
forward movement; progress in a forward direction: The ship's headway was slowed by the storm.
progress in general: headway in a career.
rate of progress: a slight headway against concerted opposition.
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.
make headway, to proceed forward; advance; progress.

1700–10; (a)head + way Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
headway (ˈhɛdˌweɪ)
1.  motion in a forward direction: the vessel made no headway
2.  progress or rate of progress: he 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 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

c.1300, short for ahead-way; ultimately nautical (cf. leeway). Generalized sense of "motion forward" first attested 1748.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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