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 formssail·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 trim one's sails

sail

/ (seɪl) /

noun

verb (mainly intr)

Derived Formssailable, 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 trim one's sails (1 of 2)

trim one's sails


Modify one's stand, adapt to circumstances, as in His advisers told him to trim his sails before he alienated voters and bungled the election completely. This metaphoric expression alludes to adjusting a ship's sails to take full advantage of prevailing winds. [Late 1700s]

Idioms and Phrases with trim one's sails (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.