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lee (side away from the wind) +‎ way


  • IPA(key): [ˈliːˌweɪ]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːweɪ


leeway (countable and uncountable, plural leeways)

  1. The drift of a ship or aeroplane in a leeward direction.
  2. A varying degree or amount of freedom or flexibility.
    Synonyms: freedom, flexibility, latitude, margin, wiggle room, elbowroom
    I don't think we have a lot of leeway when it comes to proper formatting.
    • 1960 January, G. Freeman Allen, “"Condor"—British Railways' fastest freight train”, in Trains Illustrated, page 49:
      It was 1.6 [a.m.] when we got the road, and now we had 13 lost minutes to regain. But the "Condor" schedule has so much leeway that, with the diesel power, the loss was easily recouped.
    • 2005, James Gosling et al., The Java Language Specification, Third Edition, Prentice Hall PTR, →ISBN, section 15.4 “FP-strict Expressions”,[1]
      Within an expression that is not FP-strict, some leeway is granted for an implementation to use an extended exponent range to represent intermediate results; []
    • 2020 January 2, Graeme Pickering, “Fuelling the changes on Teesside rails”, in Rail, page 61:
      "There's an hourly service to Nunthorpe and by the time you add in the Whitby trains as well there is hardly any leeway on the single line between Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe so it would involve quite significant infrastructure on the existing railway."
  3. (Britain) An adverse discrepancy or variation in a cumulative process, usually in the phrase make up leeway.
    • 1960 April, Cecil J. Allen, “Locomotive Running Past and Present”, in Trains Illustrated, page 209:
      [...] there was plenty of opportunity to modernise in the years up to 1939, but since then the Second World War and its aftermath of expenditure rigidly controlled by Government held up any progress until at last the purse-strings were unloosed five years ago. But an enormous amount of leeway needs to be made up.

Related terms[edit]