grammatical word: leeway

Last week, I used a certain word in a conversation, and I thought it would be a good blog entry for today. The word is the noun “leeway”. It is used when we want to talk about a person giving or receiving more freedom in which to do something. For example:

My boss is very strict about what he wants this ad to look like, and he’s not willing to give us much leeway.

If you increase the budget for the party by only 10%, that will give us more leeway about the types of food we can buy.

A: Gerald said we had to buy eight new chairs for the office, and we couldn’t spend more than $1000.

B: That doesn’t give us much leeway.

I’m very lucky because my boss will usually give me a bit of leeway when it comes to deadlines. If I need a day or two extra to finish something, he usually gives it to me.

So, in the first example, the boss is not willing to be flexible about the look of the ad, so they have to do it exactly as he wants; in the second example, if they receive more money in the party budget, they will have more choices about food; in the third example, they are being very restricted about the choice of chairs because they only have $1000 to spend; in the last example, the boss is willing to give him more time to finish his projects.

In all of these examples, the word “leeway” refers to the amount of freedom the person has in which to do something. This freedom can come in the form of money, time or emotional space.



  1. az Said:

    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for your answer to my question about “god forbid” last month.

    My question today is about prepositions following the word “leeway”. In your second example, the speaker says “leeway about the types of food” – Is there any alternative to “about” in this case (e.g. of, for, to, etc.)?

    • Hi there.

      In that sentence we would usually use “about”. Some people might use “for”, but I think it’s less common. The only other preposition you can use with “leeway” is “to”. We would use “to” when talking about giving some leeway to another person. For example:

      Could you please give some leeway to me about this project?

      Could you please give some leeway to me for this project?

      I hope that helps you.


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