• Passenger Vessel Under Sail
    Passenger Vessel Under Sail
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v sail travel on water propelled by wind or by other means "The QE2 will sail to Southampton tomorrow"
    • v sail traverse or travel on (a body of water) "We sailed the Atlantic","He sailed the Pacific all alone"
    • v sail move with sweeping, effortless, gliding motions "The diva swept into the room","Shreds of paper sailed through the air","The searchlights swept across the sky"
    • v sail travel on water propelled by wind "I love sailing, especially on the open sea","the ship sails on"
    • n sail an ocean trip taken for pleasure
    • n sail a large piece of fabric (usually canvas fabric) by means of which wind is used to propel a sailing vessel
    • n sail any structure that resembles a sail
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

A little boy sails boats in a pail of water, beside a woman who has taken a break from her spinning A little boy sails boats in a pail of water, beside a woman who has taken a break from her spinning
"I want to swing out and be romantic and sail round with you in a gondola." "I want to swing out and be romantic and sail round with you in a gondola."
Monadnock sailing Monadnock sailing
Proportion of sails to steam in shipping Proportion of sails to steam in shipping
Clipper Sailing-ship of 1850-60 Clipper Sailing-ship of 1850-60
Italian sailing ship. 15th century.- English ship. Time of Richard II Italian sailing ship. 15th century.- English ship. Time of Richard II

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts) is one of the few places in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane
    • Sail A passage by a sailing vessel; a journey or excursion upon the water.
    • Sail A sailing vessel; a vessel of any kind; a craft.
    • Sail A wing; a van. "Like an eagle soaring
      To weather his broad sails ."
    • Sail An extent of canvas or other fabric by means of which the wind is made serviceable as a power for propelling vessels through the water. "Behoves him now both sail and oar."
    • Sail Anything resembling a sail, or regarded as a sail.
    • Sail The extended surface of the arm of a windmill.
    • Sail To be conveyed in a vessel on water; to pass by water; as, they sailed from London to Canton.
    • Sail 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 the action of steam or other power.
    • Sail To direct or manage the motion of, as a vessel; as, to sail one's own ship.
    • Sail To fly through; to glide or move smoothly through. "Sublime she sails The aërial space, and mounts the wingèd gales."
    • Sail To move smoothly through the air; to glide through the air without apparent exertion, as a bird. "As is a winged messenger of heaven, . . .
      When he bestrides the lazy pacing clouds,
      And sails upon the bosom of the air."
    • Sail To move through or on the water; to swim, as a fish or a water fowl.
    • Sail To pass or move upon, as in a ship, by means of sails; hence, to move or journey upon (the water) by means of steam or other force. "A thousand ships were manned to sail the sea."
    • Sail To set sail; to begin a voyage.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Bananas were officially introduced to the American public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Each banana was wrapped in foil and sold for 10 cents. Before that time, bananas came to America on the decks of sailing ships as sailors took a few stems home after traveling in the Caribbean.
    • n sail A piece of cloth, or a texture or tissue of some kind, spread to the wind to cause, or assist in causing, a vessel to move through the water. Sails are usually made of several breadths of canvas, sewed together with a double seam at the borders, and edged all round with a cord or cords called the bolt-rope or bolt-ropes. A sail extended by a yard hung (slung) by the middle is called a square sail; a sail set upon a gaff, boom, or stay is called a fore-and-aft sail. (See fore-and aft.) The upper part of every sail is the head, the lower part the foot, the sides in general are called leeches; but the weather side or edge (that is, the side next the mast or stay to which it is attached) of any but a square sail is called the luff. and the other edge the after leech. The two lower corners of a square sail are in general clues; the weather clue of a fore-and-aft sail, or of a course while set, is the tack. Sails generally take their names, partly at least, from the mast, yard, or stay upon which they are stretched; thus, the main-course, maintopsail, and maintopgallantsail are respectively the sails on the mainmast, maintopmast, and maintopgallantmast. The principal sails in a full-rigged vessel are the courses or lower sails, the topsails, and the topgallantsails. See topsail, topsail-yard, and cut under ship.
    • n sail That part of the arm of a windmill which catches the wind.
    • n sail One of the canvas flaps of a cart or wagon.
    • n sail Figuratively, a wing.
    • n sail A single ship or vessel, especially a ship considered as one of a number: the same form in the singular and the plural: as. at noon we sighted a sail and gave chase; a fleet of twenty sail.
    • n sail A fleet.
    • n sail Sailing qualities; speed.
    • n sail A journey or excursion upon water; a passage in a vessel or boat.
    • n sail A ride in a cart or other conveyance.
    • n sail In zoology, a structure or formation of parts suggesting a sail in shape or use. A very large dorsal fin. See sailfish.
    • n sail To spread more sail; hasten on by spreading more sail.
    • n sail To abate show or pomp.
    • sail To move along through or over the water by the action of the wind upon sails; by extension, to move along through or over the water by means of sails, oars, steam, or other mechanical agency.
    • sail To set sail; hoist sail and depart; begin a journey on shipboard: as, to sail at noon.
    • sail To journey by water; travel by ship.
    • sail To swim, as a fish or a swan.
    • sail To fly without visible movement of the wings, as a bird; float through the air; pass smoothly along; glide: as, the clouds sail across the sky.
    • sail Hence, figuratively To move forward impressively, as if in the manner of a ship with all sail set.
    • sail To plunge forward, like a ship; rush forward: sometimes with in.
    • sail To move or act with great caution; be in circumstances requiring careful action.
    • sail To live closely up to one's income; be straitened for money.
    • sail To move or pass over or upon by the action of the wind upon sails, or, by extension, by the propelling power of oars, steam, etc.
    • sail To direct or manage the motion, movements, and course of; navigate: as, to sail a ship.
    • sail To dance.
    • sail To assail.
    • sail In lawn-tennis, to rise after crossing the net: said of a ball.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Charlotte Dundas, a paddle-wheel steamboat, was the world's first steam-powered vessel, not Robert Fulton's Clermont. In 1802, five years before Fulton's famous ship took sail, The Dundas was a steam-powered tugboat in Great Britain.
    • n Sail sāl a sheet of canvas, &c., spread to catch the wind, by which a ship is driven forward: a ship or ships: a trip in a vessel: a fleet: arm of a windmill: speed: a journey
    • v.i Sail to be moved by sails: to go by water: to begin a voyage: to glide or float smoothly along
    • v.t Sail to navigate: to pass in a ship: to fly through
    • ***


  • Louisa May Alcott
    Louisa May Alcott
    “I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship.”
  • Thomas B. Macaulay
    “Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites.”
  • Fitzhugh Dodson
    Fitzhugh Dodson
    “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”
  • Thomas Campion
    Thomas Campion
    “Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore.”


Plain sailing - If something is relatively easy and there are no problems doing it, it is plain sailing.
Sail close to the wind - If you sail close to the wind, you take risks to do something, going close to the limit of what is allowed or acceptable.
Sail under false colours - Someone who sails under false colours (colors) is hypocritical or pretends to be something they aren't in order to deceive people.
Smooth sailing - If something is smooth sailing, then you can progress without difficulty. ('Plain sailing' is also used.)
That ship has sailed - A particular opportunity has passed you by when that ship has sailed.
Time does sail - This idioms means that time passes by unnoticed.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. seil, AS. segel, segl,; akin to D. zeil, OHG. segal, G. & Sw. segel, Icel. segl, Dan. seil,. √ 153


In literature:

Sail trimmers aloft, and get ready the topmast and top-gallant studding-sails.
"Rattlin the Reefer" by Edward Howard
Besides, we sail in four days.
"Held Fast For England" by G. A. Henty
Sail and sail in her.
"The Wind Bloweth" by Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne
In 1499 he sailed with four caravels from Palos, the same port from which Columbus had sailed.
"Discoverers and Explorers" by Edward R. Shaw
On the waters of a beautiful lake, under a cloudless sky, Oswald is swiftly sailing.
"Oswald Langdon" by Carson Jay Lee
It was seen that the stranger was under a cloud of sail, including royals, and topgallant studding sails on both sides.
"The Shellback's Progress" by Walter Runciman
It seemed a wonder how they were not shaken off into the sea, or carried away by the bulging sail.
"Old Jack" by W.H.G. Kingston
All the sail we and our prize could make was set.
"The Rival Crusoes" by W.H.G. Kingston
"A Book of Discovery" by Margaret Bertha (M. B.) Synge
There were also white sails in the horizon, vessels sailing to or from Scottish ports.
"Tales of the Sea" by W.H.G. Kingston

In poetry:

She's calld upon her youngest son:
"Come here, my son, to me;
It fears me sair, my youngest son,
That ye maun sail the sea."
"Rose The Red And White Lily" by Andrew Lang
My Georgie sails for China seas to-morrow,
But he knows—he knows that he is mine.
My Georgie sails for China seas to-morrow,
But he knows—he knows that he is mine.
"Georgie Sails To-Morrow!" by Henry Clay Work
Off the coast of Connemara,
Sailor, sailor, what’s the hail?
"Dip the sail to Saint Macdara--
Dip the sail!"
So we dipped it as we tripped it
Southward with the fluting gale.
"Off Connemara" by Clinton Scollard
"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
(Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!
"The Hunting Of The Snark " by Lewis Carroll
ONE broad, white sail in Spezzia's treacherous bay
On comes the blast; too daring bark, beware I
The cloud has clasped her; to! it melts away;
The wide, waste waters, but no sail is there.
"After A Lecture On Shelley" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
(Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!
"Fit The Second - The Bellman's Speech" by Lewis Carroll

In news:

Sharkzilla races past Banner Neighborhoods' Smooth Sailing.
A 72-foot catamaran being sailed by America's Cup champion Oracle Racing capsized on San Francisco Bay on Tuesday afternoon.
David Ryan, founder of Sailing Montauk, stood inside the charred cabin of his Catalina 38, which was struck by lightning in August.
Every year the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' tries to honor a sailing hero.
Every Fourth of July the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' tries to honor a sailing hero.
Chieftain tall ship sails to Whidbey.
This week and set sail for Alaska.
Laura Dekker plans to finish her schooling in NZ - the country of her birth - then sail at the Olympics wearing the silver fern.
A lower corner or metal hoop at the lower corner of a sail.
I have heard they originally served as ballast on vessels sailing from Europe to New Orleans.
A strange new vessel sailed into San Diego Bay today.
Isaiah Young of Greenville, Ohio, rolls up a sail on the US Brig Niagara.
He was among those participating in Saturday's day-long sail on Lake Erie.
Sailing oceans of consequence .
The Caribbean Country Dance Cruise featuring Nancy Hays, singer of 'Come Dance With Me' and 'Get In Line,' will set sail from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In science:

Sailing on the surface of the sea would, presumably be impossible if there were no phase-separation.
"Qualms" from Lavenda, cond-mat/0311270
We have taken 100 random images of the ten most populated ob ject categories, namely: planes (lateral), bonsais, chandeliers, faces (frontal), pianos, tortoises, sails, leopards, motorbikes and clocks as seen in Figure 4.
Evaluation of Three Vision Based Object Perception Methods for a Mobile Robot
Sailing on the Sea of Number Theory”, Proc. 4th China-Japan Seminar, S.
On Random Multiple Dirichlet Series
In the sailing domain, a sailboat navigates to a destination on an 8-connected grid representing a marine environment, under fluctuating wind conditions.
Simple Regret Optimization in Online Planning for Markov Decision Processes
The duration of each such move depends on the direction of the move (ceteris paribus, diagonal moves take 2 more time than straight moves), the direction of the wind relative to the sailing direction (the sailboat cannot sail against the wind and moves fastest with a tail wind), and the tack.
Simple Regret Optimization in Online Planning for Markov Decision Processes