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[sey-ler] /ˈseɪ lər/
a person whose occupation is sailing or navigation; mariner.
a seaman below the rank of officer.
a naval enlistee.
a person adept at sailing, especially with reference to freedom from seasickness:
He was such a bad sailor that he always traveled to Europe by plane.
a flat-brimmed straw hat with a low, flat crown.
1540-50; earlier sailer; see sail, -or2
Related forms
sailorlike, adjective
sailorly, adjective
nonsailor, noun
Can be confused
sailer, sailor (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. seafarer. Sailor, mariner, salt, seaman, tar are terms for a person who leads a seafaring life. A sailor or seaman is one whose occupation is on board a ship at sea, especially a member of a ship's crew below the rank of petty officer: a sailor before the mast; an able-bodied seaman. Mariner is a term now found only in certain technical expressions: master mariner (captain in merchant service); mariner's compass (ordinary compass as used on ships); formerly used much as “sailor” or “seafaring man,” now the word seems elevated or quaint: Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Salt and tar are informal terms for old and experienced sailors: an old salt; a jolly tar.
1. landlubber. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sailors
  • The sailors also left some more intimate items aboard the vessel.
  • Compromised as they may seem, sailors' tattoos once held significance and occasionally still do.
  • At the same time, more accurate weather models told sailors how to exploit optimum wind currents.
  • We will then pick three other sailors to receive their own copies of the movie.
  • His sailors, meanwhile, feared that their ships would become irretrievably entangled in the stuff.
  • Even sailors who didn't run aground here told tales of the howling winds and birds.
  • Not all sailors liked the idea of sinking a warship on purpose.
  • Exhausted sailors told researchers that the close quarters made sleeping nearly impossible.
  • The sound attracts boaters, sailors and people who fish.
  • The collision toppled the boat's steel mast, damaged the cabin, but left the two sailors unhurt.
British Dictionary definitions for sailors


any member of a ship's crew, esp one below the rank of officer
a person who sails, esp with reference to the likelihood of his becoming seasick: a good sailor
short for sailor hat, sailor suit
Derived Forms
sailorly, adjective
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
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Word Origin and History for sailors



c.1400, sailer, agent noun from sail (v.). Spelling with -o- arose 16c., probably by influence of tailor, etc., and to distinguish the meaning "seaman, mariner" from "thing that sails." It replaced much older seaman and mariner (q.q.v.). Old English also had merefara "sailor." Applied as an adjective from 1870s to clothing styles and items based on a sailor's characteristic attire.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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