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

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Other Words from sail

Noun

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

Verb

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

Synonyms for sail

Synonyms: Noun

crossing, cruise, passage, voyage

Synonyms: Verb

boat, cruise, ferry, navigate, ship (out), voyage

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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

Their genius is being able to identify a ship’s weakest rivets before setting sail, and formulating a plan that protects them from unsustainable pressure. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Truth About Failing Spectacularly," 16 Feb. 2019 The women took the sails down, got on the bikes and pedaled in. Alexa Philippou, The Seattle Times, "Sail like a girl: How an all-female team made history and won the 750-mile Race to Alaska," 14 July 2018 Ripped sails, enormous waves, exploding masts, and sailors gone overboard are among the reasons the Volvo Ocean Race has been called the Everest of the sea. Dan Egan, BostonGlobe.com, "On the way to Newport, the Volvo Ocean Race has been filled with drama," 18 May 2018 According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Portuguese Man o' War - a species known as a siphonophore and named for its resemblance to an 18th-century Portuguese warship at full sail - often float in large groups. Leada Gore, AL.com, "Portuguese Man o' War in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores prompts purple flag," 27 Feb. 2018 The first guests in the suite will set sail in February 2020, in the insanely luxurious 4,443-square-foot accommodations. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "The World's Largest Luxury Cruise Suite Will Have a Sauna, Pool, and $200,000 Bed," 7 Feb. 2019 Each one of these sails can be controlled independently, so the CubeSats act like programmable pixels. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Russian Startup Wants to Project Giant Billboards in Space," 18 Jan. 2019 Refurbished pieces of sails function as headboards and a harbor full of sailboats lies just beyond the pool. Danielle Fox, ELLE Decor, "At the Nhow Marseille Hotel in France, Italian Furniture and Local Grit Lead the Design," 22 Oct. 2018 But the prize of the museum is the Friends Good Will, a tall ship with 2,800 square feet of sail when fully unfurled. Brian E. Clark, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tall ship Friends Good Will, lighthouses highlight visit to southwest Michigan," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Decatur was in the South China Sea to asset its right to sail in what the U.S. considers international waters, but which China considers Chinese territory. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Navy Proposing Major Exercises Aimed at China," 4 Oct. 2018 Campers from Shake-a-Leg Miami, an organization that works with children and adults with physical, developmental, and economic challenges, sailing in Biscayne Bay on Friday, June 15, 2018. Emily Himes, miamiherald, "Shake-a-Leg provides sailing experience for children of all abilities," 20 June 2018 The just over 1,000-foot-long, 158-foot-wide at the pool decks, 133,500-gross-ton vessel will spend the summer sailing out of New York until arriving to Florida in September for year-round voyages. OrlandoSentinel.com, "From fun to good deeds, Carnival has children in mind," 15 June 2018 Outside the entrance to the special care nursery is a mural, beautifully painted, that depicts three children sailing in a wooden shoe into a starry night sky. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better Angels: What do you give a child needing special care? 'All the love we can'," 25 Apr. 2018 After missing by just five votes last year, Hoffman, who once owned the all-time record for saves, easily sailed in this year, his third of eligibility. Jay Jaffe, SI.com, "Recapping the 2018 Hall of Fame Voting: Who's In, Who's Out and Who's Left," 25 Jan. 2018 Thousands of Cubans made their way to Florida when Fidel Castro temporarily lifted his Havana Curtain, and American boats of every shape and size sailed into the Caribbean to collect them. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Caravan to Nowhere," 22 Oct. 2018 In 1545, freshly refitted to carry a greater number of heavy cannon, the warship Mary Rose sailed into battle against a French fleet north of the Isle of Wight. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Tiny magnets will escort ions out of rare material from a shipwreck," 24 Aug. 2018 As millennials stumble, claw, or sail their way into adulthood, the lists of gender-specific skills every man (or woman) should know are giving way to something new — a unisex form of adulting. Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie, BostonGlobe.com, "The triumph of gender-neutral ‘adulting’," 7 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near sail

saif

saiga

Saigon cinnamon

sail

sailage

sail arm

sailboard

Statistics for sail

Last Updated

25 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sail

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

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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
of a ship or boat : 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sail

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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