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From Middle English gangway, from Old English gangweġ (passageway; thoroughfare), equivalent to gang +‎ way. Related to Dutch gang (hallway) and Norwegian gang (hallway).


gangway (plural gangways)

  1. A passageway through which to enter or leave, such as one between seating areas in an auditorium, or between two buildings.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:alley
    • 2023 December 10, Ryan Krull, “St. Louis Police File Felony Charge Against Bar:PM Owner After SUV Crash”, in Riverfront Times[1]:
      Morris then allegedly tried to flee into a gangway between the bar and another building, closing a gate on an officer as he did
  2. An articulating bridge or ramp, such as from land to a dock or a ship.
    • 1961 March, ""Balmore"", “Driving and firing modern French steam locomotives”, in Trains Illustrated, page 150:
      We came over on the usual mid-morning service from Victoria and this time, as we came down the gangway of the Invicta, the Shedmaster at Calais, M. Leclerc, and Henri Dutertre were waiting for us.
    • 2012 March 30, Joe Levy, “Rockers at Sea”, in The New York Times[2]:
      Like a lot of my fellow passengers — indie-rock fans who had signed up for a three-day voyage full of bands and beverages — I’d never been on a cruise before. So I don’t know whether most of them begin with a staff member high-fiving each and every person who comes off the gangway.
  3. A temporary passageway, such as one made of planks.
  4. (rare, obsolete outside dialects) A clear path through a crowd or a passageway with people.
  5. (British) An aisle.
  6. (nautical) A passage along either side of a ship's upper deck.
  7. (nautical) A passage through the side of a ship or an opening in the railing through which the ship may be boarded.
  8. (agriculture) An earthen and plank ramp leading from the stable yard into the upper storey or mow of a dairy barn.
  9. (Chicago) The narrow space between two buildings or houses, used to access the backyard/alleyway from the front.
  10. A passageway through a passenger car


  • (enclosed corridor between an airport and plane): See jet bridge

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gangway (third-person singular simple present gangways, present participle gangwaying, simple past and past participle gangwayed)

  1. To serve as, furnish with, or conduct oneself as though proceeding on a gangway.
    • 2004, Bill Hillsman, Run the Other Way:
      He gangwayed his way through the crowd, and just as the clock struck midnight, he was standing in front of NBC's camera on national TV as the governor-elect of Minnesota and the first Reform Party candidate ever to be elected to high office.
    • 2014, Jude Cook, Byron Easy:
      They're conducting phone conversations without speaking into the wrong end of their mobiles, or gangwaying to the Gents without tripping over, or turning the pages of a newspaper without blacking adjacent eyes.
    • 2014, Kevin McAleer, Dueling: The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-Siecle Germany:
      Here also of exceptional value were the half-dozen dueling codes published after 1880, gangwaying a detailed analysis in chapter II of the manner in which duels unfolded, and dozens of French sources which formed the core of a chapter on the French duel.



  1. (to a crowd) Make way! Clear a path!
    • 1934, P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, page 157:
      And he pushed his way through the crowd crying, "Gangway, gangway!" and dragging Jane and Michael after him.