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

Last autumn, Russia seized three Ukrainian ships trying to enter it; their 24 sailors are still in Russian custody. The Economist, "Crimea is still in limbo five years after Russia seized it," 8 June 2019 Asquith, wearing his sailor’s uniform and a boutonniere, said., "‘It was war.’ Oregon veterans recall D-Day," 6 June 2019 His sailors and Marines rallied, and Jones ended up capturing the Serapis—which came in handy when Bonhomme Richard sank the next day. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Shipwreck of One of America’s First Warships Was Just Found," 12 Dec. 2018 At least four Philippine Navy and Coast Guard ships were deployed to secure the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and provide food and other supplies to its sailors. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Philippines extricates warship from South China Sea shoal," 3 Sep. 2018 Seventeen American sailors died in the attack, and dozens more were wounded. Carol Rosenberg, miamiherald, "Federal court overturns Marine general’s Guantánamo war court contempt conviction," 18 June 2018 The 7th Fleet had two fatal naval accidents in Asian waters last year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the fleet commander. Littice Bacon-blood,, "Unattended trash fire engulfs, destroys mobile home near Slidell," 6 Jan. 2018 Photo: Getty Images 2016: Larger Than Life Rihanna swapped a sailor’s hat for a white baseball cap and wrapped herself in a wildly voluminous Vetements pea coat to achieve this edgy city look. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, "A Complete Guide to Buying the Essential Women’s Pea Coat," 11 Jan. 2019 In the 16th century, The Golden Hind was exploring South America’s Strait of Magellan when a Welsh sailor aboard noticed a black-and-white aquatic bird. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for sailor

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sailor

The first known use of sailor was in 1577

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More Definitions for sailor



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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More from Merriam-Webster on sailor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sailor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sailor

Spanish Central: Translation of sailor

Nglish: Translation of sailor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sailor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sailor

What made you want to look up sailor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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