Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

plain sailing

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Navigation. sailing on waters that are free of hazards or obstructions.Compare plane sailing.
  2. an easy and unobstructed way, course, or plan: As an heir to a large fortune, he looked forward to financial plain sailing.
Show More

Origin of plain sailing

First recorded in 1800–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plain sailing

Historical Examples

  • It is enough for you to know that my life has not been all 'plain-sailing.'

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 91, May, 1865

    Various

  • As for Lucy and myself, it was all plain-sailing and fair dealing.

    Afloat And Ashore

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • There would be no Precedents to hammer at, except the plain-sailing Precedent of keeping the light up.

    Our Mutual Friend

    Charles Dickens

  • Now, Mrs. Tumble-bug, everything is plain-sailing for you; here is a long down grade over the smooth clean dirt!

  • Could Peggy, in her plain-sailing, breezy British way, have appreciated all the subtleties of his relations with Jeanne?

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke


British Dictionary definitions for plain sailing

plain sailing

noun
  1. informal smooth or easy progress
  2. nautical sailing in a body of water that is unobstructed; clear sailingCompare plane sailing
Show More
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with plain sailing

plain sailing

Easy going; straightforward, unobstructed progress. For example, The first few months were difficult, but I think it's plain sailing from here on. Alluding to navigating waters free of hazards, such as rocks or other obstructions, this term was transferred to other activities in the early 1800s.

Show More
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.