right 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.
See also: of, right, way

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]
See also: of, right, way
References in periodicals archive ?
A council spokesperson said all departments had to identify possible options for savings But he added: "The Council's committed team in the Rights of Way Service will continue to provide the best possible service to Gwynedd residents and visitors to the area.
If you have a bridleways and rights of way question in Northumberland, contact Sue Rogers on sue@greencroftpark.
Nigel Jones, of the Countryside Agency, said: 'If we can improve the quality of the routes and rights of ways and enhance the overall quality of the visitor experience it will undoubtedly boost our regional economy.
At the January meeting of the full council Clr Cahal Burke, a Lindley Lib Dem, said: "An increasing number of the public rights of way in Lindley are becoming inaccessible due to lack of investment and bad weather.
Clr Bolt said: "One of the housing areas which was built many years ago has rights of way all across the land as it was never diverted by the developer.