[ sey-ling ]
/ ˈseɪ lɪŋ /


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

before 900; Middle English seiling, Old English seglung. See sail, -ing1


well-sail·ing, adjective

Definition for sailing (2 of 2)

Origin of sail

before 900; (noun) Middle English sail(e), seille, Old English segl; cognate with German Segel, Old Norse segl; (v.) Middle English seillen, saylen, Old English siglan, seglian; cognate with Dutch zeilen, Old Norse sigla


sail·a·ble, adjectivesail·less, adjectiveun·sail·a·ble, adjectiveun·sailed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sailing

British Dictionary definitions for sailing (1 of 2)

/ (ˈseɪlɪŋ) /


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

British Dictionary definitions for sailing (2 of 2)

/ (seɪl) /


verb (mainly intr)

Derived forms of sail

sailable, adjectivesailless, adjective

Word Origin for sail

Old English segl; related to Old Frisian seil, Old Norse segl, German Segel
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 sailing


In addition to the idioms beginning with sail

  • sail close to the wind
  • sail into
  • sail through
  • sail under false colors

also see:

  • (sail under) false colors
  • plain sailing
  • set sail
  • smooth sailing
  • take the wind out of one's sails
  • trim one's sails
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.