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right of way

noun, plural rights of way, right of ways.
a common law or statutory right granted to a vehicle, as an airplane or boat, to proceed ahead of another.
a path or route that may lawfully be used.
a right of passage, as over another's land.
the strip of land acquired for use by a railroad for tracks.
land covered by a public road.
land over which a power line passes.
Fencing. the right to attack or continue an attack, and thus to be credited with a hit, by virtue of having first extended the sword arm or having parried the opponent's attack.
Origin of right of way
1760-70 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for right of way
  • Cars will always give you the right of way and everybody will smile and wave at you.
  • All they have to do is pay for materials and maintenance and buy the right of way for the main lines.
  • Pedestrians always have the right of way in a crosswalk, even when it doesn't seem possible.
  • Yield right of way when entering a roundabout, and pay close attention to all signs and signals within it.
  • At a four-way stop, the driver who arrives first has the right of way.
  • Many horse trails are also shared with hikers, and in such instances the hiker always has the right of way.
  • They must also yield the right of way to hikers at all other times.
  • The quail do have the right of way throughout the property, and there are plenty of signs around to remind you so.
  • Horses have right of way, basically ruling the world.
  • Those roads would occupy a narrower right of way, but carry far more vehicles without any crashes.
British Dictionary definitions for right of way

right of way

noun (pl) rights of way
the right of one vehicle or vessel to take precedence over another, as laid down by law or custom
  1. the legal right of someone to pass over another's land, acquired by grant or by long usage
  2. the path or road used by this right
(US) the strip of land over which a power line, railway line, road, etc, extends
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
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Idioms and Phrases with right of way

right of way

The right of one person or vehicle to travel over another's property, as in The new owner doesn't like it, but hikers have had the right of way through these woods for decades. [ Mid-1700s ]
The right to precede another person or vehicle, as in Sailboats always have the right of way over motorboats, and swimmers do over any kind of boat. [ Early 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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