sail /ˈse(ə)l, ||səl/
1. An extent of canvas or other fabric by means of which the wind is made serviceable as a power for propelling vessels through the water.
Behoves him now both sail and oar. --Milton.
2. Anything resembling a sail, or regarded as a sail.
3. A wing; a van. [Poetic]
Like an eagle soaring
To weather his broad sails. --Spenser.
4. The extended surface of the arm of a windmill.
5. A sailing vessel; a vessel of any kind; a craft.
Note: ☞ In this sense, the plural has usually the same form as the singular; as, twenty sail were in sight.
6. A passage by a sailing vessel; a journey or excursion upon the water.
Note: ☞ Sails are of two general kinds, fore-and-aft sails, and square sails. Square sails are always bent to yards, with their foot lying across the line of the vessel. Fore-and-aft sails are set upon stays or gaffs with their foot in line with the keel. A fore-and-aft sail is triangular, or quadrilateral with the after leech longer than the fore leech. Square sails are quadrilateral, but not necessarily square. See Phrases under Fore, a., and Square, a.; also, Bark, Brig, Schooner, Ship, Stay.
Sail burton Naut., a purchase for hoisting sails aloft for bending.
Sail fluke Zool., the whiff.
Sail hook, a small hook used in making sails, to hold the seams square.
Sail loft, a loft or room where sails are cut out and made.
Sail room Naut., a room in a vessel where sails are stowed when not in use.
Sail yard Naut., the yard or spar on which a sail is extended.
Shoulder-of-mutton sail Naut., a triangular sail of peculiar form. It is chiefly used to set on a boat's mast.
To crowd sail. Naut. See under Crowd.
To loose sails Naut., to unfurl or spread sails.
To make sail Naut., to extend an additional quantity of sail.
To set a sail Naut., to extend or spread a sail to the wind.
To set sail Naut., to unfurl or spread the sails; hence, to begin a voyage.
To shorten sail Naut., to reduce the extent of sail, or take in a part.
To strike sail Naut., to lower the sails suddenly, as in saluting, or in sudden gusts of wind; hence, to acknowledge inferiority; to abate pretension.
Under sail, having the sails spread.
Sail v. i. [imp. & p. p. Sailed p. pr. & vb. n. Sailing.]
1. To be impelled or driven forward by the action of wind upon sails, as a ship on water; to be impelled on a body of water by the action of steam or other power.
2. To move through or on the water; to swim, as a fish or a water fowl.
3. To be conveyed in a vessel on water; to pass by water; as, they sailed from London to Canton.
4. To set sail; to begin a voyage.
5. To move smoothly through the air; to glide through the air without apparent exertion, as a bird.
As is a winged messenger of heaven, . . .
When he bestrides the lazy pacing clouds,
And sails upon the bosom of the air. --Shak.
Sail, v. t.
1. To pass or move upon, as in a ship, by means of sails; hence, to move or journey upon (the water) by means of steam or other force.
A thousand ships were manned to sail the sea. --Dryden.
2. To fly through; to glide or move smoothly through.
Sublime she sails
The aerial space, and mounts the wingèd gales. --Pope.
3. To direct or manage the motion of, as a vessel; as, to sail one's own ship.
n 1: a large piece of fabric (as canvas) by means of which wind
is used to propel a sailing vessel [syn: canvas, canvass,
2: an ocean trip taken for pleasure [syn: cruise]
v 1: traverse or travel by ship on (a body of water); "We sailed
the Atlantic"; "He sailed the Pacific all alone"
2: move with sweeping, effortless, gliding motions; "The diva
swept into the room"; "Shreds of paper sailed through the
air"; "The searchlights swept across the sky" [syn: sweep]
3: travel in a boat propelled by wind; "I love sailing,
especially on the open sea"
4: travel by boat on a boat propelled by wind or by other
means; "The QE2 will sail to Southampton tomorrow" [syn: voyage,