Old English weg "road, path, course of travel," from Proto-Germanic *wegaz (cf. Old Saxon, Dutch weg, Old Norse vegr, Old Frisian wei, Old High German weg, German Weg, Gothic wigs "way"), from PIE *wegh- "to move" (see weigh). Most of the extended senses developed in Middle English. Adverbial meaning "very, extremely" is by 1986, perhaps from phrase all the way. Ways and means "resources at a person's disposal" is attested from early 15c. Way-out (adj.) "original, bold," is jazz slang, first recorded 1940s. Encouragement phrase way to go is short for that's the way to go.