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[wey] /weɪ/
under weigh, Nautical. in motion; under way.
Origin of weigh2
1775-85; spelling variant of way1 by association with weigh anchor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for under weigh
Historical Examples
  • But we did at last get under weigh, and then there were some touches of real pathos.

    Six Months at the Cape R.M. Ballantyne
  • "Let us get under weigh with the land breeze this evening," said he.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • Shortly afterward he got under weigh, sailed down the Narrows and put out to sea.

    Captain Kyd, Vol. II Joseph Holt Ingraham
  • Terence,” said Jack, “we ought to return to the boat, and get under weigh.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • An hour afterwards the Portsmouth was under weigh, and running out with a fine breeze.

    The Settlers in Canada Frederick Marryat
  • She will not take long to get under weigh, I thought, as I looked at her.

    Peter the Whaler W.H.G. Kingston
  • We shall soon be under weigh, and every countenance is bright with anticipation.

    The South-West Joseph Holt Ingraham
  • "She will be under weigh in less than half an hour," he answered.

  • The following morning the vessels got under weigh, and proceeded towards the mouth of the San Juan river.

    The Three Lieutenants W.H.G. Kingston
  • It now coming on to blow hard, it was impossible to get under weigh.

    The Three Lieutenants W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for under weigh


(transitive) to measure the weight of
(intransitive) to have weight or be heavy: she weighs more than her sister
(transitive) often foll by out. to apportion according to weight
(transitive) to consider carefully: to weigh the facts of a case
(intransitive) to be influential: his words weighed little with the jury
(intransitive) often foll by on. to be oppressive or burdensome (to)
(obsolete) to regard or esteem
weigh anchor, to raise a vessel's anchor or (of a vessel) to have its anchor raised preparatory to departure
Derived Forms
weighable, adjective
weigher, noun
Word Origin
Old English wegan; related to Old Frisian wega, Old Norse vega, Gothic gawigan, German wiegen


under weigh, a variant spelling of under way
Word Origin
C18: variation due to the influence of phrases such as to weigh anchor
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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Word Origin and History for under weigh



Old English wegan "find the weight of, have weight, lift, carry," from Proto-Germanic *weganan (cf. Old Saxon wegan, Old Frisian wega, Dutch wegen "to weigh," Old Norse vega, Old High German wegan "to move, carry, weigh," German wiegen "to weigh"), from PIE *wegh- "to move" (cf. Sanskrit vahati "carries, conveys," vahitram "vessel, ship;" Avestan vazaiti "he leads, draws;" Greek okhos "carriage;" Latin vehere "to carry, convey;" Old Church Slavonic vesti "to carry, convey;" Lithuanian vezu "to carry, convey;" Old Irish fecht "campaign, journey").

The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of "measure the weight of." The older sense of "lift, carry" survives in the nautical phrase weigh anchor. Figurative sense of "to consider, ponder" (in reference to words, etc.) is recorded from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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