My Way or the Highway

Meaning of Idiom ‘My Way or the Highway’

When someone says my way or the highway, they are giving an ultimatum that means you either have to do what they say or leave or be excluded; agree or leave.

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This idiom is often comparted to take it or leave it, which means to accept or reject an offer as it stands. There will be no negotiation. This idiom is similar except it means you must either do what someone says or agree with what they say or go away, with no possibility for discussion.

Examples Of Use

“If you want to live in this house, said dad, it’s my way or the highway. You’ll be home by 10:30.”

“If you want to be on this team there is one rule,” said the coach. “It’s my way or the highway.”

“Tom’s the boss. He’s not exactly a tyrant but it’s pretty much his way or the highway.”


This idiom has been used since the 1970s, chiefly in America.

In English, a highway is any major road such as one connecting big towns or cities or an expressway. Here, it is used to represent a journey or trip to another place.

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