Last modified on 6 October 2014, at 17:08

right of way

EnglishEdit

NounEdit

right of way (countable and uncountable, plural rights of way or right of ways)

  1. (uncountable) The right to proceed first in traffic.
    • 1994, Di Goodman and Ian Brodie, Learning to Sail[1], ISBN 0070240140, page 86:
      Even when you have the right of way, you must take action to avoid a collision if another boat fails to give way.
  2. (countable) A legal right of passage over another's land or pathways.
    • 2000, "Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) (c.37)" (UK), II.48(4)[2],
      “restricted byway” means a highway over which the public have restricted byway rights, with or without a right to drive animals of any description along the highway, but no other rights of way.
  3. (countable) A legal easement granted for the construction of a roadway or railway.
    • 1941, Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration, Los Angeles: A Guide to the City and its Environs[3], page 307:
      Phillips granted a right-of-way to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1873.
  4. (countable) Land on which a right of way exists.
    • 1970, Diana L. Reische, Problems of Mass Transportation[4], ISBN 0824204131, page 143:
      New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans a rail line on an unused right of way of the Long Island Rail Road between JFK and Penn Station to whisk passengers to midtown Manhattan in twenty minutes.
  5. (countable) The area modified for passage of a railway; often specifically the railbed and tracks.
    • 1948, Howard Rothmann Bowen, Toward Social Economy[5], page 71:
      For example, if a railroad is required to connect a mine and a smelter, it is necessary to construct a right of way, to lay tracks, etc.
    • 2006, Jane Bloodworth Rowe, “Ferrell Parkway”, in Echoes from the Poisoned Well: Global Memories of Environmental Injustice[6], ISBN 0739114328, page 187:
      Mayne, speaking at the 1999 meeting, ranked the trees along the right-of-way as "old growth" or "rare," although she never defined these terms.
  6. (fencing, uncountable) The priority granted to the first person to properly execute an attack.
    • 2002, Elaine Cheris, Fencing: Steps to Success[7], ISBN 087322972X, page 63:
      In foil the important thing is to be sure you have the right of way. You gain right of way by starting the attack first or beating the blade last.

TranslationsEdit

Usage notesEdit

  • The plural "rights of way" can be used for all senses. The alternative plural "right of ways" is generally used only when referring to an easement or a physical stretch of land, and may be regarded as an error.

Alternative formsEdit

See alsoEdit