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sea legs

plural noun
  1. the ability to adjust one's sense of balance to the motion of a ship at sea: He stumbled about the deck for three days before getting his sea legs.
  2. the ability to remain free of seasickness.
  3. surimi.
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Origin of sea legs

First recorded in 1705–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sea legs

Historical Examples

  • He survived that storm, and got his sea-legs on before the next one.

    Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • I like to try my sea-legs on a stretch of thick carpet, occasionally.

    Joyce's Investments

    Fannie E. Newberry

  • I have been now a seaman for fifteen years, and have never yet found my sea-legs.

    An Old English Home

    S. Baring-Gould

  • Either I've lost my sea-legs or I'm all sea-legs, and nothing else.

    Shifting Sands

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • Did any provincial woman ever yet find her sea-legs in Paris?

    Parisians in the Country

    Honore de Balzac


British Dictionary definitions for sea legs

sea legs

pl n informal
  1. the ability to maintain one's balance on board ship, esp in rough weather
  2. the ability to resist seasickness, esp in rough weather
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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

sea legs in Culture

sea legs

To “have one's sea legs” is to be able to walk calmly and steadily on a tossing ship, or to become accustomed to a new or strange situation: “Even though Kimberly just joined the company, she's got her sea legs in a hurry.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with sea legs

sea legs

The ability to adjust to a new situation or difficult conditions, as in She's only spoken in public a few times; she hasn't found her sea legs yet. This expression was first recorded in 1712 and then referred to, as it still does, the ability to walk steadily on board ship, especially in rough seas. By the late 1800s it was being transferred to other challenging situations.

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