from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Nautical A piece of fabric sewn together and fitted to the spars and rigging of a vessel so as to convert the force of the wind into forward motion of the vessel.
- n. Nautical The sails of a ship or boat.
- n. Nautical The superstructure of a submarine.
- n. Nautical A sailing vessel.
- n. Nautical A trip or voyage in a sailing craft.
- n. Something, such as the blade of a windmill, that resembles a sail in form or function.
- intransitive v. Nautical To move across the surface of water, especially by means of a sailing vessel.
- intransitive v. Nautical To travel by water in a vessel.
- intransitive v. Nautical To start out on such a voyage or journey.
- intransitive v. Nautical To operate a sailing craft, especially for sport.
- intransitive v. To move along or progress smoothly or effortlessly: sailed into the room five minutes late; sailed through the exam; sailed through the red light.
- transitive v. Nautical To navigate or manage (a vessel).
- transitive v. Nautical To voyage upon or across: sail the Pacific.
- sail into To attack or criticize vigorously: sailed into the workmen for the shoddy job they were doing.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A piece of fabric attached to a boat and arranged such that it causes the wind to drive the boat along. The sail may be attached to the boat via a combination of mast, spars and ropes.
- n. The power harnessed by a sail or sails, or the use this power for travel or transport.
- n. A trip in a boat, especially a sailboat.
- n. The blade of a windmill.
- n. A tower-like structure found on the dorsal (topside) surface of submarines.
- n. The floating organ of siphonophores, such as the Portuguese man-of-war.
- n. A sailfish.
- v. To ride in a boat, especially a sailboat.
- v. To move briskly and gracefully through the air.
- v. To move briskly.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. 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.
- n. Anything resembling a sail, or regarded as a sail.
- n. A wing; a van.
- n. The extended surface of the arm of a windmill.
- n. A sailing vessel; a vessel of any kind; a craft.
- n. A passage by a sailing vessel; a journey or excursion upon the water.
- intransitive v. 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.
- intransitive v. To move through or on the water; to swim, as a fish or a water fowl.
- intransitive v. To be conveyed in a vessel on water; to pass by water.
- intransitive v. To set sail; to begin a voyage.
- intransitive v. To move smoothly through the air; to glide through the air without apparent exertion, as a bird.
- transitive v. 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.
- transitive v. To fly through; to glide or move smoothly through.
- transitive v. To direct or manage the motion of, as a vessel.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A piece of cloth, or a texture or tissue of some kind, spread to the wind to cause, or assist in causing, a vessel to move through the water.
- n. That part of the arm of a windmill which catches the wind.
- n. One of the canvas flaps of a cart or wagon.
- n. Figuratively, a wing.
- n. A single ship or vessel, especially a ship considered as one of a number: the same form in the singular and the plural: as. at noon we sighted a sail and gave chase; a fleet of twenty sail.
- n. A fleet.
- n. Sailing qualities; speed.
- n. A journey or excursion upon water; a passage in a vessel or boat.
- n. A ride in a cart or other conveyance.
- n. In zoology, a structure or formation of parts suggesting a sail in shape or use.
- n. To spread more sail; hasten on by spreading more sail.
- n. To abate show or pomp.
- To move along through or over the water by the action of the wind upon sails; by extension, to move along through or over the water by means of sails, oars, steam, or other mechanical agency.
- To set sail; hoist sail and depart; begin a journey on shipboard: as, to sail at noon.
- To journey by water; travel by ship.
- To swim, as a fish or a swan.
- To fly without visible movement of the wings, as a bird; float through the air; pass smoothly along; glide: as, the clouds sail across the sky.
- Hence, figuratively To move forward impressively, as if in the manner of a ship with all sail set.
- To plunge forward, like a ship; rush forward: sometimes with in.
- To move or act with great caution; be in circumstances requiring careful action.
- To live closely up to one's income; be straitened for money.
- To move or pass over or upon by the action of the wind upon sails, or, by extension, by the propelling power of oars, steam, etc.
- To direct or manage the motion, movements, and course of; navigate: as, to sail a ship.
- To dance.
- To assail.
- In lawn-tennis, to rise after crossing the net: said of a ball.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a large piece of fabric (usually canvas fabric) by means of which wind is used to propel a sailing vessel
- v. travel on water propelled by wind
- n. any structure that resembles a sail
- v. move with sweeping, effortless, gliding motions
- n. an ocean trip taken for pleasure
- v. travel on water propelled by wind or by other means
- v. traverse or travel on (a body of water)
Middle English seil, from Old English segl. Sail into, from obsolete sail, to attack, from Middle English sailen, short for assailen; see assail.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English seġel, from Proto-Germanic *seglan (compare earlier Middle Low German segel and later Low German sail), cognate with Dutch zeil, German Segel, Danish sejl), from pre-Germanic/Celtic sek-lo (compare Welsh hwyl, Irish séol), from Proto-Indo-European *sek- 'to cut'. More at saw. (Wiktionary)
Old English seġlian, cognate to earlier Middle Low German segelen and its descendant Low German sailen. (Wiktionary)