One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bridle path.
Late 15th century; earliest use found in Sir Torrent of Portyngale. Probably from ride + way. Compare Middle Dutch rīdewech (Dutch rijweg), Middle Low German (rare) rīdewech, Middle High German rītwec (German Reitweg), Old Swedish (in late sources) ridvägher (Swedish ridväg), early modern Danish, Danish ridevej.
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