Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know

plain sailing

Navigation. sailing on waters that are free of hazards or obstructions.
Compare plane sailing.
an easy and unobstructed way, course, or plan:
As an heir to a large fortune, he looked forward to financial plain sailing.
Origin of plain sailing
First recorded in 1800-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for plain sailing
Historical Examples
  • So far all was plain sailing, in anticipation; but now came the more complicated part of the arrangement.

    Uncle Rutherford's Nieces Joanna H. Mathews
  • I invented a breakdown in my health, and everything is plain sailing.

    The Explorer W. Somerset Maugham
  • If verbal logic were sufficient, life would be as plain sailing as a piece of Euclid.

    The Pocket R.L.S. Robert Louis Stevenson
  • In comparison the country school has the plainest of plain sailing.

    The New Education Scott Nearing
  • The judge was duly elated; now it was plain sailing, indeed!

    The Third Degree Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow
  • I once found it so, and certainly I thought that here was plain sailing.

  • This was all plain sailing; but the case was now quite different.

    The King's Own Captain Frederick Marryat
  • There would be plain sailing now to the head of the Canyon of Desolation.

    A Canyon Voyage Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
  • Business remained good, but all was not plain sailing for the young shipmaster.

    Sheila of Big Wreck Cove James A. Cooper
  • To their reawakened spirits the matter was the plainest of plain sailing.

    Sea-Dogs All! Tom Bevan
British Dictionary definitions for plain sailing

plain sailing

(informal) smooth or easy progress
(nautical) sailing in a body of water that is unobstructed; clear sailing Compare plane sailing
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
Cite This Source
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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for plain sailing

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for plain

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for plain sailing