right of way(redirected from rights of way)
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(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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
right of way
1. The right of one person or vehicle to travel over another's property, as in The new owner doesn't like it, but hikers have had the right of way through these woods for decades . [Mid-1700s]
2. The right to precede another person or vehicle, as in Sailboats always have the right of way over motorboats, and swimmers do over any kind of boat . [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.