noun \ˈsāl, as last element in compounds often səl\

: a large piece of strong cloth that is connected to a ship or boat and that is used to catch the wind that moves the ship or boat through the water

: a trip in a ship or boat

Full Definition of SAIL

a (1) :  an extent of fabric (as canvas) by means of which wind is used to propel a ship through water (2) :  the sails of a ship
b plural usually sail :  a ship equipped with sails
:  an extent of fabric used in propelling a wind-driven vehicle (as an iceboat)
:  something that resembles a sail; especially :  a streamlined conning tower on a submarine
:  a passage by a sailing craft :  cruise
sailed \ˈsāld\ adjective
under sail
:  in motion with sails set

Examples of SAIL

  1. Wind filled the sails and our journey had begun.
  2. raising and lowering the ship's sails
  3. a sail to San Francisco

Illustration of SAIL

Origin of SAIL

Middle English, from Old English segl; akin to Old High German segal sail
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to SAIL

Other Nautical Terms

avast, aweigh, flotsam, jib, keel, lee, port, starboard, stay



: to travel on water in a ship or boat

: to control a ship or boat (especially one that has sails) while traveling on water

of a ship or boat : to travel on water

Full Definition of SAIL

intransitive verb
a :  to travel on water in a ship
b :  yacht
a :  to travel on water by the action of wind upon sails or by other means
b :  to move or proceed easily, gracefully, nonchalantly, or without resistance <sails through all sorts of contradictions — Vicki Hearne> <the bill sailed through the legislature>
c :  to move through the air <the ball sailed over his head>
:  to begin a water voyage <sail with the tide>
transitive verb
a :  to travel on (water) by means of motive power (as sail)
b :  to glide through
:  to direct or manage the motion of (as a ship)
sail·able \ˈsā-lə-bəl\ adjective
sail into
:  to attack vigorously or sharply <sailed into me for being late>

Examples of SAIL

  1. We'll sail along the coast.
  2. He sailed around the world on a luxury liner.
  3. She sailed the Atlantic coastline.
  4. She's sailing a boat in tomorrow's race.
  5. The ship was sailed by a crew of 8.
  6. I've been sailing since I was a child.
  7. a ship that has sailed the seven seas
  8. We sat on the shore watching boats sail by.
  9. We sail at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
  10. They sail for San Francisco next week.

First Known Use of SAIL

before 12th century

Related to SAIL

boat, cruise, ferry, navigate, ship (out), voyage, make sail, take ship
flounder, struggle

Other Nautical Terms

avast, aweigh, flotsam, jib, keel, lee, port, starboard, stay
May 28, 2015
fictioneer Hear it
someone who writes fiction
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