sail·​ing | \ ˈsā-liŋ How to pronounce sailing (audio) \

Definition of sailing

1a : the technical skill of managing a ship : navigation
b : the method of determining the course to be followed to reach a given point
2a : the sport of handling or riding in a sailboat
b : a departure from a port

Examples of sailing in a Sentence

They're going sailing next week.
Recent Examples on the Web Barfoed remembers sailing from Copenhagen to Ivittuut with his family in 1952. Katie Lockhart, Smithsonian Magazine, "How This Abandoned Mining Town in Greenland Helped Win World War II," 28 Dec. 2019 Spotting the Tall Ships sailing into Cleveland Over a dozen Tall Ships docked in Cleveland for the 2019 Tall Ships Festival. John Pana, cleveland, "These 10 videos were the most fun to film in 2019," 25 Dec. 2019 Caribbean Gems In-Depth, Seabourn Explore this luxe line’s commitment to health on this 14-day sailing on Seabourn Odyssey. Janice Wald Henderson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Five Best Cruises for a Post-Holiday Detox," 18 Dec. 2019 Adnaan, Samya’s older brother, was in New Zealand, working construction, his latest stop in a young adulthood that had included hitchhiking to Alaska and sailing across the Atlantic in a 36-foot boat. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "“I Will Never Let Boeing Forget Her”," 11 Nov. 2019 The wind was most vigorous sailing along the Embarcadero waterfront and calmer as the crew tacked near the Golden Gate Bridge and sailed behind Angel Island. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Billie Jean King’s Long Beach roots," 24 Sep. 2019 The United States dominated Olympic sailing in the 1980s and early 1990s before Britain, Australia and New Zealand began overtaking it. Bernie Wilson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Page out as US Olympic sailing boss 10 months before Tokyo," 19 Sep. 2019 Winter activities also include cross-country skiing, ice sailing, or snow kiting. Jennifer Hayes, National Geographic, "Inside the fragile world of Québec’s harp seals," 19 Dec. 2019 Virgin Launches Its First Cruise Ship — and It’s Adults Only Scarlet Lady’s inaugural four-night sailing, for guests 18 and older, will travel from Miami to Key West, Florida, and Virgin’s private Bimini Beach Club in the Bahamas. Georgia Slater,, "WATCH: Sir Richard Branson Tours Nearly Complete First Ship for His Adults-Only Cruise Line," 5 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sailing.' 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 sailing

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

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Time Traveler for sailing

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sailing

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sailing.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sailing


How to pronounce sailing (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sailing

: the sport or activity of traveling on water in a sailboat

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More from Merriam-Webster on sailing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sailing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sailing

Spanish Central: Translation of sailing

Nglish: Translation of sailing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sailing for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sailing

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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