- the activity of a person or thing that sails.
- the departure of a ship from port: The cruise line offers sailings every other day.
- Navigation. any of various methods for determining courses and distances by means of charts or with reference to longitudes and latitudes, rhumb lines, great circles, etc.
Origin of sailing
- an area of canvas or other fabric extended to the wind in such a way as to transmit the force of the wind to an assemblage of spars and rigging mounted firmly on a hull, raft, iceboat, etc., so as to drive it along.
- some similar piece or apparatus, as the part of an arm that catches the wind on a windmill.
- a voyage or excursion, especially in a sailing vessel: They went for a sail around the island.
- a sailing vessel or ship.
- sailing vessels collectively: The fleet numbered 30 sail.
- sails for a vessel or vessels collectively.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Vela.
- to move along or travel over water: steamships sailing to Lisbon.
- to manage a sailboat, especially for sport.
- to begin a journey by water: We are sailing at dawn.
- to move along in a manner suggestive of a sailing vessel: caravans sailing along.
- to move along in a stately, effortless way: to sail into a room.
- to sail upon, over, or through: to sail the seven seas.
- to navigate (a vessel).
- sail in/into, Informal.
- to go vigorously into action; begin to act; attack.
- to attack verbally: He would sail into his staff when work was going badly.
- in sail, with the sails set.
- make sail, Nautical.
- 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.
- set sail, to start a sea voyage: We set sail at midnight for Nantucket.
- trim one's sails, Informal. to cut expenses; economize: We're going to have to trim our sails if we stay in business.
- under sail, with sails set; in motion; sailing: It was good to be under sail in the brisk wind and under the warm sun.
Origin of sail
Examples from the Web for sailing
But instead he pursued a life of science, sailing all over the world to study animal species and their environments.‘Gods of Suburbia’: Dina Goldstein’s Arresting Photo Series on Religion vs. Consumerism
November 8, 2014
Below lies the turquoise waters of the caldera, flecked with the white triangles of sailing boats.Book a Room for Two in a Santorini Cave
June 10, 2014
The book begins with Jack sailing on a British army supply ship heading for Africa during World War II.Sebastian Barry’s Quarrel With Irish History
May 7, 2014
Finally, he suggests “sailing NATO maritime forces into the Black Sea and setting up contingency plans for their use.”Crimea Is Gone—What Does NATO Do Next?
March 2, 2014
In calm contrast to the hurry of sailing vessel and steamer a silent fleet of white warships lay motionless in midstream.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
The icebergs had weighed anchor, and were sailing out into the open sea.The Field of Ice
He secured a berth on the Geranium, sailing from Liverpool, and cabled Brant to that effect.One Day's Courtship
Do you mean you object to sailing this tug on account of some imaginary thing?
"But I don't understand a sailing vessel in these waters," speculated Leonard.
It rained, I remember, all that day, but the next was bright and clear for our sailing.The Harbor
- the practice, art, or technique of sailing a vessel
- a method of navigating a vesselrhumb-line sailing
- an instance of a vessel's leaving a portscheduled for a midnight sailing
- an area of fabric, usually Terylene or nylon (formerly canvas), with fittings for holding it in any suitable position to catch the wind, used for propelling certain kinds of vessels, esp over water
- a voyage on such a vessela sail down the river
- a vessel with sails or such vessels collectivelyto travel by sail; we raised seven sail in the northeast
- a ship's sails collectively
- something resembling a sail in shape, position, or function, such as the part of a windmill that is turned by the wind or the part of a Portuguese man-of-war that projects above the water
- the conning tower of a submarine
- in sail having the sail set
- make sail
- to run up the sail or to run up more sail
- to begin a voyage
- set sail
- to embark on a voyage by ship
- to hoist sail
- under sail
- with sail hoisted
- under way
- to travel in a boat or shipwe sailed to Le Havre
- to begin a voyage; set sailwe sail at 5 o'clock
- (of a vessel) to move over the waterthe liner is sailing to the Caribbean
- (tr) to manoeuvre or navigate a vesselhe sailed the schooner up the channel
- (tr) to sail overshe sailed the Atlantic single-handed
- (often foll by over, through, etc) to move fast or effortlesslywe sailed through customs; the ball sailed over the fence
- to move along smoothly; glide
- (often foll by in or into) informal
- to begin (something) with vigour
- to make an attack (on) violently with words or physical force
Word Origin and History for sailing
Old English seglinge, verbal noun from the source of sail (v.).
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.
Idioms and Phrases with 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