AskDefine | Define leeway

Dictionary Definition



1 (of a ship or plane) sideways drift
2 a permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits [syn: allowance, margin, tolerance]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The drift of a ship or airplane in a leeward direction.
  2. A varying degree or amount of freedom or flexibility; margin, latitude, elbowroom
    I don't think we have a lot of leeway when it comes to proper formatting.
    • 2005, James Gosling et al., The Java Language Specification, Third Edition, Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN 0321246780, section 15.4 “FP-strict Expressions”,]
      Within an expression that is not -strict, some leeway is granted for an implementation to use an extended exponent range to represent intermediate results;
  3. An adverse discrepancy or variation in a cumulative process, usually in make up leeway.


drift of a ship or airplane in a leeward direction
  • Japanese: [avation 風圧量 (ふうあつりょう, fūatsuryō); [marine] 偏流量 (へんりゅうりょう, henryūryō)
degree or amount of freedom or flexibility

Extensive Definition

Leeway is the lateral movement of a ship to the leeward of her course; drift. Just as a vessel's course is affected by the current of the water (set and drift), her course is also altered by wind. Vessels with greater surface area on the beam experience more leeway than ones with less.
A navigator on a vessel must adjust his ordered course to compensate for this alteration. A good rule of thumb for adjusting ordered course is to alter your course by six degrees for every knot of drift on the beam. For example, if a navigator wants to make course 090 good, but there is one knot of drift to the south, the adjusted course should be 084. Failure to make these adjustments during a voyage is negligent and will yield poor navigational results.
leeway in German: Abdrift
leeway in Icelandic: Drift

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aesthetic distance, air space, ample scope, blank check, caesura, carte blanche, clearance, compass, deep space, depths of space, discontinuity, distance, distance between, divergence, double space, drift, driftway, elbowroom, em space, en space, extent, farness, field, free course, free hand, free play, free scope, freeboard, freedom, full scope, full swing, hair space, half space, headroom, headway, hiatus, infinity, interim, intermediate space, interruption, interspace, interstice, interval, jump, lacuna, latitude, leap, length, light-years, long rope, maneuvering space, margin, mileage, no holds barred, open space, parsecs, perspective, piece, play, progress, range, reach, remoteness, room, room to spare, rope, scope, sea room, separation, single space, slack, space, space between, span, spare room, steerageway, sternway, stretch, stride, swing, time interval, tolerance, way, ways, wide berth
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