Idioms

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

Related forms

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

British Dictionary definitions for set sail

sail

/ (seɪl) /

noun

verb (mainly intr)

Derived Forms

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 set sail (1 of 2)

set sail


Also, make sail. Begin a voyage on water, as in Dad rented a yacht, and we're about to set sail for the Caribbean, or We'll make sail for the nearest port. These expressions, dating from the early 1500s, originally meant “put the sails in position to catch the wind,” and hence cause the vessel to move.

Idioms and Phrases with set sail (2 of 2)

sail


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.