sail·​or | \ ˈsā-lər \

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

The Light Station dates back to 1874, when it was built to help sailors navigate the misty waters surrounding one of California’s largest cities. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Need a Fresh Start in 2019? California Has an Opening for a Lighthouse Keeper," 8 Jan. 2019 Deep grooves worn into his teeth suggest the nature of that work: that kind of wear often comes from passing or holding a rope between one’s teeth, as a medieval fisherman or sailor might have done. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Medieval skeleton’s boots reveal harsh realities of life on the Thames," 6 Dec. 2018 Kight, who was born in 1965 in Kamakura, Japan, learned her father was an American sailor who had been stationed in nearby Yokosuko (the same place where, somewhat astonishingly, Kight's husband was stationed years later). Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "A month before he died, a beloved Anchorage bartender met his daughter," 30 June 2018 Lloyd said an Australian navy frigate would reach Amsterdam Island on Friday with plans to take the two sailors to the Australian port of Fremantle. Rod Mcguirk, The Seattle Times, "Rescued Indian and Irish sailors reach remote island," 25 Sep. 2018 Lloyd said an Australian navy frigate would reach Amsterdam Island on Friday with plans to take the two sailors to the Australian port of Fremantle. Rod Mcguirk, Fox News, "Rescued Indian and Irish sailors head for remote island," 24 Sep. 2018 Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships on Nov. 25 close to the Kerch Strait, along with 24 sailors, and has so far ignored international calls for their release. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko Courts Washington After Manafort Revelations," 8 Dec. 2018 This explosion, and subsequent fires (which burned for 2-1/2 days afterwards), killed 1,177 sailors and marines, or about 80 percent of the crew on board. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Pearl Harbor Still Holds a Few Mysteries," 7 Dec. 2018 In second picture, the adorable 1-year-old stands in the boat with a cute sailor hat, but no vest. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "Matt Roloff Addresses Concerned 'Little People, Big World' Fans After Photo Fiasco," 20 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

12 Jan 2019

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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 \

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 gather or build up little by little

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