leeway » leadway

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “This business of trying to give presidents leadway doesn’t usually serve us very well.” (link)
  • “Considering that I just wrote this you’d think you’d give me some leadway here.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Mark Peters (American Dialect Society mailing list, 17 March 2006)

The nautical “lee” in “leeway” undoubtedly goes unrecognized by most modern speakers. But “lead”, in the sense of a distance out in front, more or less fits the intended meaning. And there is an idiom “lead the way” as well.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2006/05/20 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by pat schwieterman , 2006/05/20 at 6:41 pm

    Another eggcornish variant of “leeway” — “leaveway” — has been noted twice in the Eggcorn Forum: first by Paul Marty on 11/12/05, and then by Ken Lakritz on 12/29/05.

  2. 2

    Commentary by Trudi , 2006/09/14 at 2:09 am

    I read an email from a coworker just the other day in which I actually saw “Leigh way.”

  3. 3

    Commentary by Jerry Kindall , 2006/10/11 at 12:42 am

    Pretty soon we’ll see people pronouncing (the word formerly known as) “leeway” as “ledway” because they’ve only ever seen it written down as “leadway” and thought it had something to do with element 82 on the periodic table.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.