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

Simple Definition of sail

  • : 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

  1. 1a (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 shipb plural usually sail :  a ship equipped with sails

  2. 2 :  an extent of fabric used in propelling a wind-driven vehicle (as an iceboat)

  3. 3 :  something that resembles a sail; especially :  a streamlined conning tower on a submarine

  4. 4 :  a passage by a sailing craft :  cruise

sailed play \ˈsāld\ adjective
under sail
  1. :  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

Other Nautical Terms




Simple Definition of sail

  • : 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
    1. 1a :  to travel on water in a shipb :  yacht

    2. 2a :  to travel on water by the action of wind upon sails or by other meansb :  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>

    3. 3 :  to begin a water voyage <sail with the tide>

    4. transitive verb
    5. 1a :  to travel on (water) by means of motive power (as sail)b :  to glide through

    6. 2 :  to direct or manage the motion of (as a ship)

    sail·able play \ˈsā-lə-bəl\ adjective
    sail into
    1. :  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.

    Before 12th Century

    First Known Use of sail

    before 12th century

    Other Nautical Terms

    Seen and Heard

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    February 11, 2016

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