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

Position records for the Golden Ray show the ship arrived in port in Brunswick Saturday evening after making the short sail from a prior stop in Jacksonville, Florida. CBS News, "Overturned cargo ship's missing crew members are alive, Coast Guard says," 9 Sep. 2019 Position records for the Golden Ray show the ship arrived in port in Brunswick Saturday evening after making the short sail from a prior stop in Jacksonville, Florida. Washington Post, "Fourth and final crewman pulled alive from capsized ship," 9 Sep. 2019 Position records for the Golden Ray show the ship arrived in port in Brunswick Saturday evening after making the short sail from a prior stop in Jacksonville, Florida. Jeff Amy, Anchorage Daily News, "Coast Guard rescues all 4 crew members trapped in overturned cargo ship off Georgia," 9 Sep. 2019 Position records for the Golden Ray show the ship arrived in port in Brunswick Saturday evening after making the short sail from a prior stop in Jacksonville, Florida. Time, "Coast Guard Finds 4 Crew Members Trapped Inside Capsized Cargo Ship in Georgia," 9 Sep. 2019 Margaritaville is still setting sail for Town Madison. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, "No, Margaritaville is not wastin’ away at Town Madison," 6 Sep. 2019 The audacious Napoleon had left Elba and set sail for France. National Geographic, "Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo—here’s what went wrong," 15 Aug. 2019 To celebrate his 70th birthday, the businessman is setting sail on his first-ever cruise ship. Mackenzie Schmidt, PEOPLE.com, "Sail with a Celeb! How to Cruise with Cardi B, Jon Bon Jovi, Impractical Jokers and More," 6 Aug. 2019 Below Deck is setting sail to Thailand for its seventh season, and PEOPLE has the exclusive premiere of all the action coming down the pike. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Below Deck Season 7 Trailer Teases Love Triangles in Thailand and a Staffer's Shocking Ship-Off," 26 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Golden Ray, which is 656-feet-long, 106-feet-wide, was sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, the ministry said. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Four missing crew members found alive inside capsized cargo ship off Georgia coast," 9 Sep. 2019 While the tanker was sailing under a UK flag, the company that operates it is headquartered in Sweden. Artemis Moshtaghian And Sarah El Sirgany, CNN, "Iran is releasing seven Indian crew members from seized UK tanker," 4 Sep. 2019 Smiling from ear to ear while sailing along the coast of Saint-Tropez, Wade and Union gave us a glimpse into their current situation. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Dwyane Wade And Gabrielle Union Gave Us 100% Black Love Goals On Their Anniversary Trip," 3 Sep. 2019 Bensouda earlier declined a request by the Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros to investigate the May 31, 2010, storming of a vessel in the flotilla, which was sailing under a Comoros flag. Washington Post, "ICC judges order prosecutor to review Gaza flotilla decision," 3 Sep. 2019 The containers were transferred within one day of arrival to the DN5505, a cargo ship sailing under the flag of Togo, a West African nation, and bound for the port of Nakhodka in the far east of Russia. Edward Wong, New York Times, "How North Korea’s Leader Gets His Luxury Cars," 16 July 2019 Since then several cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norwegian added Cuban stops while sailing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Port Canaveral. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "With no U.S. cruise ships, Cuba welcomes Russian warship," 26 June 2019 While ships can economically sail from the Gulf to India carrying oil quantities as low as 60 to 40 tonnes, a journey from the US is feasible only on very large crude carriers, Mahurkar said. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is visiting India—with tonnes of oil and gas for sale," 24 June 2019 Online ship trackers said the vessel seized in Philadelphia, named MSC Gayane, sails under the flag of Liberia and arrived in Philadelphia after 5 a.m. Monday. Matt Rourke, Twin Cities, "33K pounds of cocaine seized in one of biggest US drug busts," 19 June 2019

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

12 Sep 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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