As far as I know, anyway is a common word used by both American and British English speakers to mean in any case, nevertheless, etc. I never thought much about the word until I noticed that British English speakers sometimes use anyroad the same way.

If I had thought about it, I'd probably have said the way in anyway meant something like manner, or whichever way, or manner, in which the situation is considered.

But learning of anyroad as a synonym for anyway, I thought about the fact that way is another word for street or road. Thus, we can also way that anyway means "any (metaphorical) road you want to go down in considering the situation."

My initial impression was that anyroad was a word invented as an amusing alternate for anyway, unexpectedly playing on the synonymous relationship between way and road, but perhaps there was no humo(u)r intended.

Dictionary.com identifies anyroad as Northern England dialect and British slang, originating 1885 or 1890. What other specifics relate to the origins of anyroad?


2 Answers 2


The OED says, s.v. road, in its sense no. 9:

Eng. regional (chiefly north. in later use). Way, manner. Freq. as no road: (in) no way or manner; some road: (in) some way or manner. See also ANY ROAD adv..

However, the link (ANY ROAD adv) fails, and there does not seem to be an entry for either anyroad or any road, though the former does occur incidentally in a citation from 1932 (for mill-house).

It certainly agrees with my perception that it is a Northern use. I hear anyroad, or sometimes anyroad up, here in Yorkshire, but did not hear it when I was growing up in the South.

  • +1 I wonder if you can explain what is meant by "in later use"?" Later than what? And was road meaning way or manner initially used nationally and subsequently only in the North, according to that entry?
    – sarah
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 7:45
  • @sarah I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing it means that the word retains/retained usage in the North later than elsewhere in England.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 14:27
  • @sarah: it means that this is a regional use in England, formerly widespread, but more recently mostly in the North.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 14:45
  • this does not provide an answer. It still seems like a pun on way, which is at the heart of the question, and no judgement has been made either road. OP accepting the answer implies to me they accepted that this is just what road always meant, so your answer is in effect misleading, and unlikely to become substantiated. There is good reason to see way having been associated with wh- words originally, especially why, long before Old English (not too far though, if Lat via and quo would be difficult to explain as dissimilation). You might want to weigh in on that.
    – vectory
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 7:42
  • 1
    @vectory: 1. It does provide an answer. 2. Road and way have a large area of overlap in their meanings. This question is about an area of overlap which is current in some dialects, but not in standard English. 3. Your fringe speculations about etymology are wholly irrelevant to this question.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 13:21

Just to supplement @ColinFine's answer:

Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) has:

any road (up)
chiefly Northern English informal term for ANYWAY.
any road, I’m sure you’ll make a go of it

OneLook Dictionary Search lists 6 links, but none seems to add anything new. Some of them state that it is a northern English term, and some (I think mainly the American-orientated ones) merely state British.

The Online Etymology Dictionary lists origins for any and for about 12 any- words, but anyroad is not included.

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