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2017 Word of the Year

plain sail

noun, Nautical.
1.
any of the ordinary working sails of a vessel.
2.
all these sails, taken collectively.
Origin of plain sail
1820-1830
First recorded in 1820-30
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for plain sail
Historical Examples
  • The steel corvettes were able to carry all plain sail with impunity.

    In Eastern Seas J. J. Smith
  • Apparently she had been under all plain sail when the thing happened.

    Overdue Harry Collingwood
  • She was standing on with all plain sail set, and was manoeuvring in order to gain the weather-gauge.

    The Heir of Kilfinnan W.H.G. Kingston
  • You are turning to windward in a fresh breeze, under all plain sail, and it becomes necessary to tack.

    A Middy of the King Harry Collingwood
  • We weighed anchor in the afternoon of October 9, and got out of the harbour under all plain sail.

  • She was about two miles away, with all plain sail set, beating against the wind towards the northern end of the island.

  • There was a strong breeze blowing aft and the barque was slugging along under all plain sail.

    The Viking Blood

    Frederick William Wallace
  • The cause of our sudden recall then became apparent, for standing in under all plain sail were three large ships.

    The Quest of the 'Golden Hope' Percy F. Westerman
  • The barque was under all plain sail, and we were but three men to get the yards braced round.

    My Danish Sweetheart, Volume 3 of 3 William Clark Russell
  • There was a light breeze from the eastward, and the frigate, under all plain sail, was standing on a bowline to the southward.

    True Blue W.H.G. Kingston

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