verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- to go vigorously into action; begin to act; attack.
- to attack verbally: He would sail into his staff when work was going badly.
- to set the sail or sails of a boat or increase the amount of sail already set.
- to set out on a voyage: Make sail for the Leeward Islands.
Origin of sail
Related Words for sailfly, shoot, move, run, navigate, float, drift, cross, sweep, leave, skim, cruise, reach, steer, soar, voyage, flit, dart, scud, embark
Examples from the Web for sail
Contemporary Examples of sail
They get $8 million to dredge the channel for pleasure boats to sail to Catalina Island.Congress’ Gift That Keeps on Giving
P. J. O’Rourke
December 20, 2014
The turbulent waters caused one of his oars to crack, which—without a motor or a sail—can be severely detrimental to his voyage.Victor Mooney’s Epic Adventure for His Dead Brother
October 19, 2014
Anytime we have to put up the sail or tack or do any maneuvering, it requires all hands on deck.Inside Sailing’s Biggest Race
October 11, 2014
At best, they would be processed and free to return home to sail again.Hundreds of Migrants are Reported Drowned by Traffickers Near Malta
Barbie Latza Nadeau
September 15, 2014
He wanted to sail around the Sea of Cortez; he had this weird little boat that in no way was ready nor was he a sailor.The Drunken Downfall of Evangelical America's Favorite Painter
June 8, 2014
Historical Examples of sail
He didn't go on board till the morning on which the ship was to sail.Brave and Bold
A five, a four and the main,' shouted the big man, with a voice like the flap of a sail.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
A little later the larboard fore-sheet went, and the sail was split.
We had a ship, a brig, and twelve schooners, fourteen sail in all.
We set it, double-reefed, which made it but a rag of a sail, and yet the ship felt it directly.
- to run up the sail or to run up more sail
- to begin a voyage
- to embark on a voyage by ship
- to hoist sail
- with sail hoisted
- under way
verb (mainly intr)
- to begin (something) with vigour
- to make an attack (on) violently with words or physical force
Word Origin for sail
Old English segl "sail, veil, curtain," from Proto-Germanic *seglom (cf. Old Saxon, Swedish segel, Old Norse segl, Old Frisian seil, Dutch zeil, Old High German segal, German Segel), of obscure origin with no known cognates outside Germanic (Irish seol, Welsh hwyl "sail" are Germanic loan-words). In some sources (Klein, OED) referred to PIE root *sek- "to cut," as if meaning "a cut piece of cloth." To take the wind out of (someone's) sails (1888) is to deprive (someone) of the means of progress, especially by sudden and unexpected action, "as by one vessel sailing between the wind and another vessel," ["The Encyclopaedic Dictionary," 1888].
Old English segilan "travel on water in a ship; equip with a sail," from the same Germanic source as sail (n.); cognate with Old Norse sigla, Middle Dutch seghelen, Dutch zeilen, Middle Low German segelen, German segeln. Meaning "to set out on a sea voyage, leave port" is from c.1200. Related: Sailed; sailing.
In addition to the idioms beginning with sail
- sail close to the wind
- sail into
- sail through
- sail under false colors
- (sail under) false colors
- plain sailing
- set sail
- smooth sailing
- take the wind out of one's sails
- trim one's sails