Webster 1913 Edition



a riding, that on which one rides or travels, a road, fr.
to ride. See
, and cf.
A journey, or stage of a journey.
With easy
he came to Leicester.
An inroad; an invasion; a raid.
A place where one may ride; an open way or public passage for vehicles, persons, and animals; a track for travel, forming a means of communication between one city, town, or place, and another.
The most villainous house in all the London
☞ The word is generally applied to highways, and as a generic term it includes highway, street, and lane.
[Possibly akin to Icel.
the rigging of a ship, E.
A place where ships may ride at anchor at some distance from the shore; a roadstead; – often in the plural;
as, Hampton
Now strike your saile, ye jolly mariners,
For we be come unto a quiet
On the road
, or
Uponthe road
traveling or passing over a road; coming or going; traveling; on the way.

My hat and wig will soon be here,
They are
upon the road
Road agent
a highwayman, especially on the stage routes of the unsettled western parts of the United States; – a humorous euphemism.
[Western U.S.]
The highway robber –
road agent
he is quaintly called.
The century.
Road book
a guidebook in respect to roads and distances.
road kill
in the vocabulary.
Road metal
the broken, stone used in macadamizing roads.
Road roller
a heavy roller, or combinations of rollers, for making earth, macadam, or concrete roads smooth and compact.
– often driven by steam. –
Road runner
the chaparral cock.
Road steamer
a locomotive engine adapted to running on common roads.
To go on the road
to engage in the business of a commercial traveler.
To take the road
to begin or engage in traveling.
To take to the road
to engage in robbery upon the highways.
Syn. – Way; highway; street; lane; pathway; route; passage; course. See

Webster 1828 Edition



[L. gradior. See Grade.]
An open way or public passage; ground appropriated for travel, forming a communication between one city, town or place and another. The word is generally applied to highways, and as a generic term it includes highway, street and lane. The military roads of the Romans were paved with stone, or formed of gravel or pebbles, and some of them remain to this day entire.
A place where ships may ride at anchor at some distance from the shore; sometimes called roadstead, that is, a place for riding, meaning at anchor.
A journey. [Not used, but we still use ride as a noun; as a long ride; a short ride; the same word differently written.]
An inroad; incursion of an enemy. [Not in use.]
On the road, passing; traveling.

Definition 2024





road (plural roads)

  1. (obsolete) The act of riding on horseback. [9th-17th c.]
  2. (obsolete) A hostile ride against a particular area; a raid. [9th-19th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.8:
      There dwelt a salvage nation, which did live / Of stealth and spoile, and making nightly rode / Into their neighbours borders […].
  3. (nautical, often in the plural) A partly sheltered area of water near a shore in which vessels may ride at anchor. [from 14th c.]
    • 1630, John Smith, True Travels, in Kupperman 1988, page 38:
      There delivering their fraught, they went to Scandaroone; rather to view what ships was in the Roade, than any thing else [...].
  4. A way used for travelling between places, originally one wide enough to allow foot passengers and horses to travel, now usually one surfaced with asphalt or concrete and designed to accommodate many vehicles travelling in both directions. [from 16th c.]
    • 1852, Mrs M.A. Thompson, “The Tutor's Daughter”, in Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature, Art, and Fashion, page 266:
      In the lightness of my heart I sang catches of songs as my horse gayly bore me along the well-remembered road.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for.
  5. (figuratively) A path chosen in life or career. [from 17th c.]
    • Ronald Reagan: A Time for Choosing (1964).
      Where, then, is the road to peace?
    • 2012 September 7, Phil McNulty, BBC Sport:
      Hodgson may actually feel England could have scored even more but this was the perfect first step on the road to Rio in 2014 and the ideal platform for the second qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday.
  6. An underground tunnel in a mine. [from 18th c.]
  7. (US, rail transport) A railway or (Britain, rail transport) a single railway track. [from 19th c.]
  8. (obsolete) A journey, or stage of a journey.
    • Shakespeare
      With easy roads he came to Leicester.
  9. A way or route.
    • Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit
      He stirred up his hair with his sprightliest expression, glanced at the little figure again, said ‘Good evening, ma ‘am; don’t come down, Mrs Affery, I know the road to the door,’ and steamed out.

Usage notes

Often used interchangeably with street or other similar words. When usage is distinguished, a road is a route between settlements (reflecting the etymological relation with ride), as in the Great North Road from London to Edinburgh, while a street is a route within a settlement (city or town), strictly speaking paved.


  • See also Wikisaurus:road

Derived terms



road (not comparable)

  1. (US, Canada, sports, chiefly attributive) At the venue of the opposing team or competitor.


  • (at the venue of the opposing team or competitor): away (UK)


Most common English words before 1923: tried · certainly · big · #555: road · husband · blockquote · effect




past participle of roa.


road (not comparable)

  1. amused, entertained


Inflection of road
Indefinite/attributive Positive Comparative Superlative2
Common singular road
Neuter singular roat
Plural roade
Definite Positive Comparative Superlative
Masculine singular1 roade
All roade
1) Only used, optionally, to refer to things whose natural gender is masculine.
2) The indefinite superlative forms are only used in an attributive role.

Related terms