my way or the high way?


When do you usually use the expression "my way or the high way"?
Does it mean someone does what he/she wants as his/her way regardless of others opinions?
  • elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Context is indispensable, but you're on the right track. If I say "it's my way or the highway," it means "I'm/We're/You're gonna do it my way no matter what. If you have a problem with that, get lost."


    Senior Member
    I agree with Elroy 100%, but I would add that in this case, highway is one word, meaning a main road.

    So when you say my way or the highway, you're saying that if you're not going to do it my way, you better just take that road out of here.


    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Example: Manager: It's his way or no way.

    Source: Kitchen Nightmares Season 6 Episode 7

    A restaurant manager complains behind the owner's back about him running the restaurant like a dictatorship. He has a habit of putting his staff down and refuses to take criticism.

    Does "his way or no way" carry no implication of "get lost"? Or do they mean the same thing? I take it as a less harsh version of "my way or the high way". (If you don't agree with me, there's nothing you can do about it, but I don't make it clear whether you should get lost or not.)


    Senior Member
    English - England
    "his way or no way" = [you do it] His way or [you do] not [do it] at all. There is no implication that the person spoken to should leave, so it is a different phrase from "my way or the highway". (NB it is one word -> "highway" (i.e. a road) not two words -> "high way.")


    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    It seems like you can create many variations based on "my way or XXX way". If the speaker is so sure that his way is the only right way, he can tell the doubters "My way or the wrong way".