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sea legs

plural noun
the ability to adjust one's sense of balance to the motion of a ship at sea:
He stumbled about the deck for three days before getting his sea legs.
the ability to remain free of seasickness.
Origin of sea legs
1705-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sea-legs
Historical Examples
  • He had his sea-legs, he walked slowly about the deck, not looking at any one, with an air decided and sinister.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • I like to try my sea-legs on a stretch of thick carpet, occasionally.

    Joyce's Investments Fannie E. Newberry
  • Jasper would find his sea-legs in a fortnight, and a twelvemonth's v'y'ge would make him a man.

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
  • Either I've lost my sea-legs or I'm all sea-legs, and nothing else.

    Shifting Sands Sara Ware Bassett
  • After Madeira, when all had found their sea-legs, and the warm weather and smooth ocean appeared, things became very pleasant.

    Tales of South Africa H.A. Bryden
  • Did any provincial woman ever yet find her sea-legs in Paris?

    Parisians in the Country Honore de Balzac
  • He survived that storm, and got his sea-legs on before the next one.

  • Well, get below,” said the doctor; “and the sooner you find your sea-legs the better.

    Seven Frozen Sailors George Manville Fenn
  • But the recruits had gotten their sea-legs some time before, and none was made seasick.

    Two Boys of the Battleship Frank V. Webster
  • "Getting his sea-legs," said Old Tim, as he toddled by with a rope in his hand.

    The Funny Philosophers George Yellott
British Dictionary definitions for sea-legs

sea legs

plural noun (informal)
the ability to maintain one's balance on board ship, esp in rough weather
the ability to resist seasickness, esp in rough weather
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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sea-legs in Culture

sea legs definition

To “have one's sea legs” is to be able to walk calmly and steadily on a tossing ship, or to become accustomed to a new or strange situation: “Even though Kimberly just joined the company, she's got her sea legs in a hurry.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with sea-legs

sea legs

The ability to adjust to a new situation or difficult conditions, as in She's only spoken in public a few times; she hasn't found her sea legs yet. This expression was first recorded in 1712 and then referred to, as it still does, the ability to walk steadily on board ship, especially in rough seas. By the late 1800s it was being transferred to other challenging situations.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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