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The word leeway has a technical definition as well as a more figurative meaning used in everyday communication. We will examine the definitions of the word leeway, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

The technical definition of the nautical term leeway is the amount an object floating on the water drifts to leeward from its forward motion. The leeward side is the side which the wind blows toward.  Leeway is also used in everyday language to mean the amount of extra time or space one can work within, the extra margin of safety available in a certain situation or action. Leeway is a mass noun, which is a noun signifying something uncountable and therefore does not have a plural form. The word leeway is derived from the Old English word heo which means protection or shelter and the Old English word weg, which means path of travel.


Under a revised ordinance approved last week, members of the Lincoln County Lodgers Tax Committee will have more leeway in deciding whether to consider late applications from entities applying for lodgers tax dollars to promote their events. (The Ruidoso News)

The Chrin Commerce Centre is seeking leeway in how far back it can place a hotel, two restaurants and a gas station on a 13-acre site off Route 33 in Palmer Township. (The Allentown Morning Call)

By law, city property has to be sold at market value, but there is leeway with CRA properties because the primary mission is the elimination of slum and blight through development and redevelopment. (The Bradenton Herald)

Playing partner O’Hara managed to stir up a little dose of the heebie-jeebies when he reduced the leeway to just two shots on the back nine. (The Evening Times)

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