Way - whey

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Don't confuse the homophones way and whey. (Way, weigh and way form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these.) Few students, perhaps, in modern urban institutions of HE will need the second of these.

  • Way is the common, everyday word. Its root meaning is like that of 'road' or 'path', as in "Do you know the way to St Paul's?". (This is sometimes used as a proper noun title for a street, as in Clive Sullivan Way.) A second broad strand is 'method': "The best way to learn a language is by practice." There are many figurative developments of meaning from these two strands.
  • Whey is the liquid that results when curds are separated from milk. It is nearly clear, and very thin, which is why Shakespeare makes the tyrant Macbeth ask a coward "where got'st thou that whey-face?"


For another confusion of homophones, see Way - weigh.