- The definition of a sail is a strong sheet of fabric attached to a boat used to catch and use wind to move the boat forward in water.
An example of a sail is how Christopher Columbus' ship moved through the ocean.
- Sail is defined as to move, float or glide smoothly through water or air, or to move quickly.
- An example of sail is a bird gliding on a headwind in the sky.
- An example of sail is to finish a three hour task in one hour.
A replica of the Santa Maria sails on the sea.
- any of the shaped sheets of canvas or other strong material spread to catch or deflect the wind, by means of which some vessels and some land vehicles are driven forward
- sails collectively
- a sailing vessel or vessels
- a trip in a ship or boat, esp. one moved by sails
- anything like a sail, as an arm of a windmill
Origin of sailMiddle English seil, sail ; from Old English segl, akin to German segel, probably ultimately ; from Indo-European base an unverified form sek-, to cut from source Classical Latin secare, to cut, segmentum, segment
- to be moved forward by means of a sail or sails
- to be moved forward on water by mechanical means such as a propeller
- to move upon or travel by water: said of a vessel or its passengers
- to begin a trip by water
- to manage a sailboat, as in racing or cruising
- to glide, float, or move steadily through the air
- to move smoothly and with dignity, like a ship in full sail
- Informal to move quickly
- ☆ Informal to begin vigorously; throw oneself (into) with energy
- ☆ Informal to attack, criticize, or reprimand someone severely: with into
Origin of sailME seilen < OE seglian < the n.
- to move through or upon (a body of water) in a boat or ship
- to manage or navigate (a boat or ship)
sail against the wind
- to sail a course that slants slightly away from the true direction of the wind; sail closehauled
- to work under difficulties or against direct opposition
sail close to the wind
- to sail as nearly as possible straight against the wind
- to be economical in one's affairs
- to border on indecency, foolhardiness, etc.
- to hoist the sails in preparation for departure
- to start out on a voyage by water
take in sail
- Nautical a. A piece of fabric sewn together and fitted to the spars and rigging of a vessel so as to convert the force of the wind into forward motion of the vessel.b. The sails of a ship or boat.c. A narrow fairwater supporting the bridge of a submarine.
- pl. sail or sails Nautical A sailing vessel.
- Nautical A trip or voyage in a sailing craft.
- Something, such as the blade of a windmill, that resembles a sail in form or function.
verbsailed, sail·ing, sails
- Nautical a. To move across the surface of water, especially by means of a sailing vessel.b. To travel by water in a vessel.c. To start out on such a voyage or journey: Tomorrow we sail for the islands.d. To operate a sailing craft, especially for sport.
- To move along or progress smoothly or effortlessly: sailed into the room five minutes late; sailed through the exam; sailed through the red light.
- To move along through the air: The ball sailed into the stands.
verb, transitive Nautical
- To navigate or manage (a vessel).
- To voyage upon or across: sail the Pacific.
Origin of sailMiddle English seil, from Old English segl. Sail into, from obsolete sail, to attack, from Middle English sailen, short for assailen; see assail.
- (nautical) A piece of fabric attached to a boat and arranged such that it causes the wind to drive the boat along. The sail may be attached to the boat via a combination of mast, spars and ropes.
- (uncountable) The power harnessed by a sail or sails, or the use this power for travel or transport.
- A trip in a boat, especially a sailboat.
- Let's go for a sail.
- (dated) A sailing vessel; a vessel of any kind; a craft. Plural sail.
- Twenty sail were in sight.
- The blade of a windmill.
- A tower-like structure found on the dorsal (topside) surface of submarines.
- The floating organ of siphonophores, such as the Portuguese man-of-war.
- (fishing) A sailfish.
- We caught three sails today.
- (paleontology) an outward projection of the spine, occurring in certain dinosaurs and synapsids
- Anything resembling a sail, such as a wing.
From Old English seġel, from Proto-Germanic *seglą (compare earlier Middle Low German segel and later Low German sail), cognate with Dutch zeil, German Segel, Danish sejl), from pre-Germanic/Celtic sek-lo (compare Welsh hwyl, Irish séol), from Proto-Indo-European *sek- 'to cut'. More at saw.
(third-person singular simple present sails, present participle sailing, simple past and past participle sailed)
- To be impelled or driven forward by the action of wind upon sails, as a ship on water; to be impelled on a body of water by steam or other power.
- To move through or on the water; to swim, as a fish or a waterfowl.
- To ride in a boat, especially a sailboat.
- To set sail; to begin a voyage.
- We sail for Australia tomorrow.
- To move briskly and gracefully through the air.
- To move briskly.
Old English seġlian, cognate to earlier Middle Low German segelen and its descendant Low German sailen.