sail·​or | \ ˈsā-lər How to pronounce sailor (audio) \

Definition of sailor

1a : one that sails especially : mariner
b(1) : a member of a ship's crew
2 : a traveler by water
3 : a stiff straw hat with a low flat crown and straight circular brim

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Examples of sailor in a Sentence

He worked as a sailor on a cargo ship. the sailors were glad to be arriving in port after their long voyage
Recent Examples on the Web One of many differences between Obama and Jack Dorsey is that the problems Obama faced during his Presidency—an American sailor held hostage by Somali pirates, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the war in Syria—were not problems of his own making. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "The Importance, and Incoherence, of Twitter’s Trump Ban," 15 Jan. 2021 On July 30 a Marine assault amphibious vehicle sank off the coast of San Clemente Island during training, killing eight Marines and a sailor. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2020 a year of travails, tragedy for San Diego military community," 30 Dec. 2020 British sailor John Turner also wrote about these brutal tactics after being held hostage on board a pirate ship in 1806. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "The American pirate who kicked off one of Hong Kong's earliest major political scandals," 22 Dec. 2020 Growing up, Zach Coco’s hero was his grandfather Anthony, a veteran who served in World War II’s Pacific theater as a sailor aboard the U.S.S. Rushmore. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "See 12 Stunning Portraits of World War II Veterans," 31 Aug. 2020 Last month, eight Marines and a sailor were killed when an Assault Amphibious Vehicle sank near San Clemente Island. Fox News, "Army soldiers ID'd in fatal Black Hawk helicopter crash off California," 30 Aug. 2020 One sailor died, to date -- the only death from active-duty forces out of 1.3 million. Melissa Leon, Fox News, "Aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt conducts 'man overboard' search for missing sailor," 12 Dec. 2020 On Thursday, the 26-ton amphibious assault vehicle carrying 15 Marines and one Navy sailor sank after taking on water. Star Tribune, "Search for Marines and sailor ends in California," 2 Aug. 2020 Many of the sailors affected by the outbreak work in the ship’s engineering department, the sailor said. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Navy sends replacement sailors to USS Essex after crew members catch COVID-19," 17 Dec. 2020

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

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sailor

alteration of sailer

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Time Traveler for sailor

Time Traveler

The first known use of sailor was in 1577

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Statistics for sailor

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sailor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sailor


How to pronounce sailor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sailor

: a person who works on a boat or ship as part of the crew
: someone who controls a boat or ship that has sails


sail·​or | \ ˈsā-lər How to pronounce sailor (audio) \

Kids Definition of sailor

: a person who works on or controls a boat or ship as part of the crew

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Comments on sailor

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