What Does Clear the Way Mean?

Clear the Way Meaning

Definition: Move out of the way; form a path.

This command means to form an unobstructed path so that someone or something can pass through. People usually use this in a crowded place. People can also use this metaphorically to mean make something possible that was previously blocked.

When used as an order, people might say make way, although this sounds old fashioned. A more modern alternative is move out of the way or get out of the way. When used as commands, these could sound rude.

Origin of Clear the Way

One of the definitions of clear is to remove objects or people from an area. This is the meaning it has in the expression.

If one person or group is trying to follow a path, or to go in a certain direction, that is called the way. They want any objects or people in the way to move out of the way.

Examples of Clear the Way

define clearing the wayIn this example, a man uses the expression so that his friend can get from the store to her car while carrying something heavy. 

Rodrigo: Hey, Alisha! Do you need any help carrying that filing cabinet?

Alisha: Thanks for the offer, but you just had back surgery. It’s probably a bad idea for you to carry anything.

Rodrigo: Well, there are a lot of shopping carts blocking the way from the exit to your car. I’ll at least clear the way for you.

Alisha: Okay, thanks! I appreciate it!

Rodrigo: My pleasure!

meaning of clear the wayIn the example below, two friends are trying to get to the front row of a rock concert they are attending.   

Luis: I love this band!   

Stephanie: I know! They’re amazing! I just wish I could see them better.

Luis: Let’s try to get closer.

Stephanie: I don’t think we can get through all these people. It’s a huge crowd.

Luis: Don’t worry. I’ll clear the way. Just follow me!

Stephanie: Okay, let’s try it!

More Examples

This excerpt is about a legal decision that judges will make. The decision could make it possible to lower benefits for retired people.

  • A case before the state Supreme Court could clear the way for reductions in public retiree benefits, which have become hugely expensive. –LA Times

This excerpt is about a woman who fought to help bring equal rights to people in her religion.

  • For years, Wolfe-Devol was among those in the Lutheran church who reached out to the LGBT community and helped clear the way for the 2009 vote by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that permitted gay and lesbian clergy to openly marry and continue to serve in the church. –LA Times

Summary

The phrase to clear the way means to create an unobstructed path for someone or something to pass through.