Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

(the) right of way

1. The right to pass over or cut through property that is privately owned by someone else. Because I bought this land from government, they have right of way in certain portions.
2. The legal right to travel in front or across the path of another vehicle. At an intersection with four stop signs, the person who arrived first has right of way. Pedestrians always have the right of way at these designated crosswalks.
See also: of, right, way
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


the legal right to occupy a particular space on a public roadway. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~; yield ~.) I had a traffic accident yesterday, but it wasn't my fault. I had the right-of-way. Don't pull out onto a highway if you haven't yielded the right-of-way.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Although presence of riparian habitats may have influenced our results, we suggest that the right-of-way also had an effect on distribution and density of southern red-backed voles.
The open, early-successional habitats created by the powerline right-of-way likely favors increased abundance of least chipmunks and North American deermice.
Southern red-backed voles in edge and forested habitats at powerline sites exhibited significant directional movements parallel to the right-of-way (Rayleigh's test, P < 0.001, n = 15, mean direction of movement = 82.2[degrees]).
Least chipmunks crossed the right-of-way in their natural movements (four crosses by three individuals) and after translocation at powerline sites.
During their natural movements, North American deermice readily crossed the right-of-way (13 crosses by nine individuals) and the right-of-way at control sites (four crosses by four individuals).
An adult male southern red-backed vole crossed the right-of-way at powerline site 2 during its natural movements (two crosses by one individual).
Least chipmunks preferred the right-of-way ([chi square] = 11.93, P = 0.003) at powerline sites.
We used data from captured, nontranslocated southern red-backed voles and North American deermice at powerline sites to assess whether direction of movements in edge and forested habitats were random in reference to the right-of-way. Movements between captures were standardized such that 0[degrees] represented movement directly toward the right-of-way and 180[degrees] was directly away from the right-of-way.
Whether restoring patches of right-of-ways or thousands of acres of prairie, finding sources of native seed is a common obstacle.
At several places on the city right-of-ways, backhoes will be used to dig test pits.
There will be samples taken on city right-of-ways along roads, as well as residential properties.