the activity of a person or thing that sails.
the departure of a ship from port: The cruise line offers sailings every other day.
Navigation. any of various methods for determining courses and distances by means of charts or with reference to longitudes and latitudes, rhumb lines, great circles, etc.

before 900; Middle English seiling, Old English seglung. See sail, -ing1

well-sailing, adjective Unabridged


an area of canvas or other fabric extended to the wind in such a way as to transmit the force of the wind to an assemblage of spars and rigging mounted firmly on a hull, raft, iceboat, etc., so as to drive it along.
some similar piece or apparatus, as the part of an arm that catches the wind on a windmill.
a voyage or excursion, especially in a sailing vessel: They went for a sail around the island.
a sailing vessel or ship.
sailing vessels collectively: The fleet numbered 30 sail.
sails for a vessel or vessels collectively.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Vela.
verb (used without object)
to move along or travel over water: steamships sailing to Lisbon.
to manage a sailboat, especially for sport.
to begin a journey by water: We are sailing at dawn.
to move along in a manner suggestive of a sailing vessel: caravans sailing along.
to move along in a stately, effortless way: to sail into a room.
verb (used with object)
to sail upon, over, or through: to sail the seven seas.
to navigate (a vessel).
Verb phrases
sail in/into, Informal.
to go vigorously into action; begin to act; attack.
to attack verbally: He would sail into his staff when work was going badly.
in sail, with the sails set.
make sail, Nautical.
to set the sail or sails of a boat or increase the amount of sail already set.
to set out on a voyage: Make sail for the Leeward Islands.
set sail, to start a sea voyage: We set sail at midnight for Nantucket.
trim one's sails, Informal. to cut expenses; economize: We're going to have to trim our sails if we stay in business.
under sail, with sails set; in motion; sailing: It was good to be under sail in the brisk wind and under the warm sun.

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

sailable, adjective
sailless, adjective
unsailable, adjective
unsailed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sail (seɪl)
1.  an area of fabric, usually Terylene or nylon (formerly canvas), with fittings for holding it in any suitable position to catch the wind, used for propelling certain kinds of vessels, esp over water
2.  a voyage on such a vessel: a sail down the river
3.  a vessel with sails or such vessels collectively: to travel by sail; we raised seven sail in the northeast
4.  a ship's sails collectively
5.  something resembling a sail in shape, position, or function, such as the part of a windmill that is turned by the wind or the part of a Portuguese man-of-war that projects above the water
6.  the conning tower of a submarine
7.  in sail having the sail set
8.  make sail
 a.  to run up the sail or to run up more sail
 b.  to begin a voyage
9.  set sail
 a.  to embark on a voyage by ship
 b.  to hoist sail
10.  under sail
 a.  with sail hoisted
 b.  under way
vb (often foll by over, through, etc) (often foll by in or into)
11.  to travel in a boat or ship: we sailed to Le Havre
12.  to begin a voyage; set sail: we sail at 5 o'clock
13.  (of a vessel) to move over the water: the liner is sailing to the Caribbean
14.  (tr) to manoeuvre or navigate a vessel: he sailed the schooner up the channel
15.  (tr) to sail over: she sailed the Atlantic single-handed
16.  to move fast or effortlessly: we sailed through customs; the ball sailed over the fence
17.  to move along smoothly; glide
18.  informal
 a.  to begin (something) with vigour
 b.  to make an attack (on) violently with words or physical force
[Old English segl; related to Old Frisian seil, Old Norse segl, German Segel]

sailing (ˈseɪlɪŋ)
1.  the practice, art, or technique of sailing a vessel
2.  a method of navigating a vessel: rhumb-line sailing
3.  an instance of a vessel's leaving a port: scheduled for a midnight sailing

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. segl, from P.Gmc. *seglom (cf. Swed. segel, O.N. segl, O.Fris. seil, Du. zeil, O.H.G. segal, Ger. Segel), of obscure origin with no known cognates outside Gmc. Ir. seol, Welsh hwyl "sail" are Gmc. loan-words. Sometimes referred to PIE root *sek- "to cut," as if meaning "a cut piece of cloth." The
verb is O.E. segilan, from the same Gmc. source (cf. O.N. sigla, M.L.G. segelen, Ger. segeln).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


In summer 2007 the America's Cup completed its three-year course of almost continuous competition, with a spectacular final series between defending Alinghi of Switzerland and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. The ACC boats-Alinghi and New Zealand, respectively-were equal in speed, and the crews were professional in their performance, after three years of full-time preoccupation with the quest for the Cup. After four races the two teams were tied at two races each before Alinghi went ahead four races to two. The seventh and final race saw the lead change numerous times, the last time at the finish line, and Alinghi won by a scant one-second margin as New Zealand completed a penalty just before finishing. It was an exciting encounter, displayed beautifully in 3-D animation online and by worldwide television, using racetrack software to provide an overhead view of the competition. Almost immediately, the Swiss team announced new conditions for the next challenge in 2009, some of which appeared to favour the defender. The potential challengers objected, and the American team Oracle filed an independent challenge to take place in 2008. The New York Trust Court would decide the case, determining what could be done under the terms of the Deed of Gift of the Cup

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Imagine being alone on the ocean for five or ten weeks, sailing in snow, ice
  and spray cruel as needles.
They're arboreal, and they use their gliding skills for sailing from tree to
His differentness probably reinforced solitary pursuits-he gravitated to the
  river, to sketching, to sailing and to painting.
Boating and sailing and fishing, there are lots of fun things for families
  including hockey and many others for the school kids.
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