A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 2250, 2251

Way. n.s. [wœʒ, Saxon; weigh, Dutch.]

  1. The road in which one travels.

    I am amaz'd, and lose my way,
    Among the thorns and dangers of this world.

            You cannot see your way. —
    — I have no way, and therefore want no eyes:
    I stumbled when I saw.
    Shakesp. K. Lear.

    To God's eternal house direct the way,
    A broad and ample road.

    Flutt'ring the god, and weeping said,
    Pity poor Cupid, generous maid!
    Who happen'd, being blind, to stray,
    And on thy bosom lost his way.

  2. Broad road made for passengers.

    Know'st thou the way to Dover? —
    — Both stile and gate, horse-way, and foot-path.

  3. A length of journey.

    An old man that had travelled a great way under a huge burden, found himself so weary, that he called upon death to deliver him. L'Estrange.

  4. Course; direction of motion.

    I now go toward him, therefore follow me,
    And mark what way I make.
    Shakesp. Winter Tale.

    He stood in the gate, and ask'd of ev'ry one,
    Which way she took, and whither she was gone.

    Attending long in vain, I took the way,
    Which through a path, but scarcely printed, lay.

    With downward force he took his way,
    And roll'd his yellow billows to the sea.

    My seven brave brothers, in one fatal day,
    To death's dark mansions took the mournful way.

    To observe every the least difference that is in things, keeps the understanding steady and right in its way to knowledge. Locke.

  5. Advance in life.

    The boy was to know his father's circumstances, and that he was to make his way by his own industry. Spectator, № 123.

  6. Passage; power of progression made or given.

    Back do I toss these treasons to thy head:
    This sword of mine shall give them instant way,
    Where they shall rest for ever.
    Shakesp. K. Lear.

                        Th' angelick choirs,
    On each hand parting, to his speed give way,
    On each hand parting, to his speed gave way,
    Through all th' empyreal road.
    Milton's Par. Lost, b. v.

    Youth and vain confidence thy life betray:
    Through armies this has made Melantius' way.

    The reason may be, that men seldom come into those posts, till after forty; about which time the natural heat beginning to decay, makes way for those distempers. Temple.

    The air could not readily get out of those prisons, but by degrees, as the earth and water above would give way. Burnet.

    As a soldier, foremost in the fight,
    Makes way for others.

    Some make themselves way, and are suggested to the mind by all the ways of sensation and reflection. Locke.

  7. Vacancy made by timorous or respectful recession.

    There would be left no difference between truth and falsehood, if what we certainly know, give way to what we may possibly be mistaken in. Locke.

    Nor was he satisfy'd, unless he made the pure profession of the gospel give way to superstition and idolatry, wherever he had power to expel the one, and establish the other. Atterbury.

    I would give way to others, who might argue very well upon the same subject. Swift.

  8. Local tendency.

    Come a little nearer this way,
    I warrant thee no body hears.
    Shakesp. Mer. Wives of Wind.

  9. Course; regular progression.

    But give me leave to seize my destin'd prey,
    And let eternal justice take the way.

  10. Situation where a thing may probably be found.

    These inquisitions are never without baseness, and very often useless to the curious inquirer. For men stand upon their guards against them, laying all their counsels and secrets out of their way. Taylor's Rule of Living Holy.

  11. A situation or course obstructive and obviating.

    The imagination being naturally tumultuous, interposeth itself without asking leave, casting thoughts in our way, and forcing the understanding to reflect upon them. Duppa.

  12. Tendency to any meaning, or act.

    There is nothing in the words that sounds that way, or points particularly at persecution. Atterbury.

  13. Access; means of admittance.

    Being once at liberty, 'twas said, having made my way with some foreign prince, I would turn pirate. Raleigh.

  14. Sphere of observation.

    The general officers, and the publick ministers that fell in my way, were generally subject to the gout. Temple.

  15. Means; mediate instrument; intermediate step.

    By noble ways we conquest will prepare;
    First offer peace, and that refus'd, make war.

    What conceivable ways are there, whereby we should come to be assured that there is such a being as God? Tillotson.

    A child his mother so well instructed this way in geography, that he knew the limits of the four parts of the world. Locke.

    It is not impossible to God to make a creature with more ways to convey into the understanding the notice of corporeal things, than those five he has given to man. Locke.

  16. Method; scheme of management.

    He durst not take open way against them, and as hard it was to take a secret, they being so continually followed by the best, and every way ablest of that region. Sidney, b. ii.

    Will not my yielded crown redeem my breath?
    Still am I fear'd? is there no way but death?

    As by calling evil good, a man is misrepresented to himself in the way of flattery; so by calling good evil, he is misrepresented to others, in the way of slander. South's Sermons.

    Now what impious ways my wishes took?
    How they the monarch, and the man forsook?

    The senate, forced to yield to the tribunes of the people, thought it their wisest course to give way also to the time. Swift.

  17. Private determination.

    He was of an high mind, and loved his own will and his way, as one that revered himself, and would reign indeed. Bacon.

                    If I had my way,
    He had mew'd in flames at home, not i' th' senate;
    I had sing'd his furs by this time.
    B. Johnson's Catiline.

  18. Manner; mode.

    She with a calm carelessness let every thing slide, as we do by their speeches, who neither in matter nor person do any way belong unto us. Sidney.

    God hath so many times and ways spoken to men. Hooker.

    Few writers make an extraordinary figure, who have not something in their way of thinking or expressing, that is entirely their own. Spectator, № 160.

    His way of expressing and applying them, not his invention of them, is what we admire. Addison.

  19. Method; manner of practice.

    Having left the way of nobleness, he strove to climb to the height of terribleness. Sidney.

                    Matter of mirth,
    She could devise, and thousand ways invent,
    To feed her foolish humour, and vain jolliment.

    To live th' easiest way, not with perplexing thoughts.

  20. Method or plan of life, conduct, or action.

    A physician, unacquainted with your body, may put you in a way for a present cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind. Bacon.

                        To attain
    The height and depth of thy eternal ways,
    All human thought comes short.

    When a man sees the prodigious expence our forefathers have been at in these barbarous buildings, one cannot but fancy what miracles they would have left us, had they only been instructed in the right way. Addison on Italy.

  21. Right method to act or know.

    We are quite out of the way, when we think that things contain within themselves the qualities that appear to us in them. Lo.

    They are more in danger to go out of the way, who are marching under the conduct of a guide that will mislead them, than he that has not yet taken a step, and is likelier to enquire after the right way. Locke.

    By me, they offer all that you can ask,
    And point an easy way to happiness.

  22. General scheme of acting.

    Men who go out of the way to hint free things, must be guilty of absurdity, or rudeness. Clarissa.

  23. By the way. Without any necessary connection with the main design: en passant.

    Note, by the way, that unity of continuance is easier to procure, than unity of species. Bacon's Nat. Hist.

    Will. Honeycomb, now on the verge of threescore, asked me, in his most serious look, whether I would advise him to marry lady Betty Single, who, by the way, is one of the greatest fortunes about town. Spectator, № 475.

  24. To go or come one's way, or ways; to come along, or depart. A familiar phrase.

                Nay, come your ways;
    This is his majesty, say your mind to him.

    To a boy fast asleep upon the brink of a river, fortune came and wak'd him; prithee get up, and go thy ways, thou'lt tumble in and be drown'd else. L'Estrange.

  25. Way and ways, are often used corruptly for wise.

    But if he shall any ways make them void after he hath heard them, then he shall bear her iniquity. Numb. xxx. 15.

    They erect conclusions no way inferible from their premises. Brown's Vulgar Errours.

    Being sent to reduce Paros, he mistook a great fire at a distance for the fleet, and being no ways a match for them, set sail for Athens. Swift.

    'Tis no way the interest even of priesthood. Pope.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well (21) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Browne, Thomas (204) · Burnet, Thomas (45) · Daniel, Samuel (28) · Dryden, John (788) · Duppa, Brian (6) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Jonson, Ben (70) · Shakespeare's King John (43) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (95) · Milton, John (449) · The Bible - Numbers (12) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Raleigh, Walter (68) · Richardson, Samuel (11) · Rowe, Nicholas (21) · Sidney, Philip (140) · South, Robert (158) · Spectator (140) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Taylor, Jeremy (57) · Temple, William (54) · Tillotson, John (68) · Waller, Edmund (63) · Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (43)

Attributes: Dutch (90) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Way." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 26, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/way/.

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