sail

noun
\ ˈsāl How to pronounce sail (audio) , as last element in compounds often səl \

Definition of sail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : an extent of fabric (such 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
2 : an extent of fabric used in propelling a wind-driven vehicle (such as an iceboat)
3 : something that resembles a sail especially : a streamlined conning tower on a submarine
4 : a passage by a sailing craft : cruise
under sail
: in motion with sails set

sail

verb
sailed; sailing; sails

Definition of sail (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to travel on water in a ship
b : yacht
2a : 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
3 : to begin a water voyage sail with the tide

transitive verb

1a : to travel on (water) by means of motive power (such as sail) sail the ocean
b : to glide through
2 : to direct or manage the motion of sail a ship
sail into
: to attack vigorously or sharply sailed into me for being late

Illustration of sail

Illustration of sail

Noun

sail 1a (of a schooner): 1 flying jib, 2 jib, 3 forestaysail, 4 foresail, 5 fore gaff-topsail, 6 main-topmast staysail, 7 mainsail, 8 main gaff-topsail

In the meaning defined above

Other Words from sail

Noun

sailed \ ˈsāld How to pronounce sail (audio) \ adjective

Verb

sailable \ ˈsā-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce sail (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for sail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of sail in a Sentence

Noun Wind filled the sails and our journey had begun. raising and lowering the ship's sails a sail to San Francisco Verb We'll sail along the coast. He sailed around the world on a luxury liner. She sailed the Atlantic coastline. She's sailing a boat in tomorrow's race. The ship was sailed by a crew of 8. I've been sailing since I was a child. a ship that has sailed the seven seas We sat on the shore watching boats sail by. We sail at 9 a.m. tomorrow. They sail for San Francisco next week.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the next day’s sail to Mull, I was regaled with stories by a man — a Tirisdeach (TIR-as-deich), or person from Tiree — who works on the crew of a ship that supplies lighthouses and services the vast system of buoys throughout the Hebrides. Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2021 In truth, over the centuries such a smooth sail is more exception than the rule. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2021 The cat is equipped with twin 225 hp engines and a 1,722-square-foot sail for additional power. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 18 Nov. 2021 All guests, either U.S. or international, ages 5 and up will need to be fully vaccinated by their sail date starting Jan. 13, 2022. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, 17 Nov. 2021 Other new amenities include a fire pit, playground equipment, a shade sail, Wi-Fi, and a solar charging station. John Laidler, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Nov. 2021 Morton had a shot sail over the crossbar in the first half. Eric Bem, baltimoresun.com, 7 Nov. 2021 Grayslake Central’s Daniel Marynevych watched a teammate’s shot sail over the goal, putting each hand on his head in frustration. Bob Narang, chicagotribune.com, 5 Nov. 2021 There, in the weeks leading up to the voyage, it was discovered that the knowledge of how to weave such a sail was very nearly lost. Julian Aguon, The Atlantic, 1 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Millions of twinkling holiday lights will illuminate 80 boats, sail boats and mega yachts for the North Palm Beach and Jupiter boat parade. Arlene Borenstein-zuluaga, sun-sentinel.com, 26 Nov. 2021 After seeing the ball sail through the uprights, Lloyd turned and sprinted to the UW bench area to get the axe. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 Nov. 2021 Phoenix is an alert, perceptive actor, attuned to wavy human signals that might sail by less sensitive performers. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 19 Nov. 2021 Tensions have heightened as China has recently dispatched a growing number of fighter jets toward the island, while the U.S. and its allies sail warships though the Taiwan Strait. The Associated. Press, Arkansas Online, 17 Nov. 2021 Tensions have heightened as China has dispatched a growing number of fighter jets toward the island, while the U.S. and its allies sail warships though the Taiwan Strait. Aamer Madhani, ajc, 16 Nov. 2021 Rather than sail across the Atlantic and risk losing equipment to submarines, the Marines could simply charter airliners and fly to Norway, their vehicles and equipment waiting for them. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 1 Nov. 2021 Maria would spend the last two weeks of her life teaching 15 women how to make that sail. Julian Aguon, The Atlantic, 1 Nov. 2021 Drifting ice and the frozen seascape determine the specific route, and the captain and expedition team decide where to sail and land. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 30 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sail

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for sail

Noun

Middle English, from Old English segl; akin to Old High German segal sail

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Time Traveler for sail

Time Traveler

The first known use of sail was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sail

Saigon cinnamon

sail

sailage

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Statistics for sail

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sail. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for sail

sail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

sail

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sail (Entry 2 of 2)

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

sail

noun
\ ˈsāl How to pronounce sail (audio) \

Kids Definition of sail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sheet of strong cloth (as canvas) used to catch enough wind to move boats through the water or over ice
2 : the sails of a ship They lowered sail as they approached the bay.
3 : a trip in a ship or boat moved especially by the wind We went for a sail on the lake.

sail

verb
sailed; sailing

Kids Definition of sail (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to travel on a boat moved especially by the wind He sailed around the world.
2 : to travel on or by water Boats sailed by.
3 : to control the motion of (a ship or boat) while traveling on water
4 : to move or proceed in a quick and smooth way The ball sailed over my head.

More from Merriam-Webster on sail

Nglish: Translation of sail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sail for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sail

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