Etymology
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right of way (n.)

1767, "legal right, established by usage, to pass across grounds or property belonging to another." Of the path itself from 1805. By 1913 as "legal right of a pedestrian or vehicle to have precedence at a crossing or convergence." 

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Definitions of right of way

right of way (n.)
the privilege of someone to pass over land belonging to someone else;
right of way (n.)
the right of one vehicle or vessel to take precedence over another;
right of way (n.)
the passage consisting of a path or strip of land over which someone has the legal right to pass;
From wordnet.princeton.edu