Underway, or under way, is a nautical term describing the state of a vessel. "Way" arises when there is sufficient water flow past the rudder of a vessel that it can be steered. A vessel is said to be underway if it meets the following criteria: • It is not aground • It is not at anchor • It has not been made fast to a dock, the shore, or other stationary object. If a vessel is adrift and not being propelled by any instrument or device, it is said to be underway, not making way. "Under weigh" is a variation, coming from folk etymology, first used in 1749. "Under way" is likely from the Dutch onderweg or Middle Dutch onderwegen. Weigh is also a synonym for hanging or dangling, so that the process of raising an anchor, which causes it to hang at the end of the anchor-rope or chain is called "weighing [the] anchor" which leads to confusion between weigh and way, since both are pronounced identically.

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