Wrong of way

Back in January I heard my dad say something pretty interesting but keep forgetting to post about it. We were driving around town and he shouted at another driver, “What do you think you’re doing? You have the wrong of way!”

This method of negating right of way is new to me. I’m used to, “You don’t have (the) right of way,” where the predicate is negated. But in my dad’s version the adjective is swapped with an antonym – within a set phrase, no less! ETA: This is also interesting because while “having the right to (something)” is a common phrase, I don’t think people would normally say “have the wrong to (something).” Hm.

I was curious to see if this is in wider use, so of course I went to trusty Google. It gets 36,000 hits, but that’s a bit skewed because there’s apparently a song by that name bringing up thousands of those annoying junk lyrics pages in the search results. Other than that song, it shows up in a few news articles, apparently as an attempt at a clever title.

This article in particular has a very interesting example:

“Whooshing through, he swiped an oncoming red MG that had refused to yield the wrong of way until threatened with extinction.”

How exactly do you yield the wrong of way, I wonder?


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