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sail

[seyl] /seɪl/
noun
1.
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.
2.
some similar piece or apparatus, as the part of an arm that catches the wind on a windmill.
3.
a voyage or excursion, especially in a sailing vessel:
They went for a sail around the island.
4.
a sailing vessel or ship.
5.
sailing vessels collectively:
The fleet numbered 30 sail.
6.
sails for a vessel or vessels collectively.
7.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Vela.
verb (used without object)
8.
to move along or travel over water:
steamships sailing to Lisbon.
9.
to manage a sailboat, especially for sport.
10.
to begin a journey by water:
We are sailing at dawn.
11.
to move along in a manner suggestive of a sailing vessel:
caravans sailing along.
12.
to move along in a stately, effortless way:
to sail into a room.
verb (used with object)
13.
to sail upon, over, or through:
to sail the seven seas.
14.
to navigate (a vessel).
Verb phrases
15.
sail in/into, Informal.
  1. to go vigorously into action; begin to act; attack.
  2. to attack verbally:
    He would sail into his staff when work was going badly.
Idioms
16.
in sail, with the sails set.
17.
make sail, Nautical.
  1. to set the sail or sails of a boat or increase the amount of sail already set.
  2. to set out on a voyage:
    Make sail for the Leeward Islands.
18.
set sail, to start a sea voyage:
We set sail at midnight for Nantucket.
19.
trim one's sails, Informal. to cut expenses; economize:
We're going to have to trim our sails if we stay in business.
20.
under sail, with sails set; in motion; sailing:
It was good to be under sail in the brisk wind and under the warm sun.
Origin
900
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
Related forms
sailable, adjective
sailless, adjective
unsailable, adjective
unsailed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for set sail

sail

/seɪl/
noun
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
  1. to run up the sail or to run up more sail
  2. to begin a voyage
9.
set sail
  1. to embark on a voyage by ship
  2. to hoist sail
10.
under sail
  1. with sail hoisted
  2. under way
verb (mainly intransitive)
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.
(transitive) to manoeuvre or navigate a vessel he sailed the schooner up the channel
15.
(transitive) to sail over she sailed the Atlantic single-handed
16.
often foll by over, through, etc. to move fast or effortlessly we sailed through customs, the ball sailed over the fence
17.
to move along smoothly; glide
18.
(informal) often foll by in or into
  1. to begin (something) with vigour
  2. to make an attack (on) violently with words or physical force
Derived Forms
sailable, adjective
sailless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English segl; related to Old Frisian seil, Old Norse segl, German Segel
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 set sail
sail
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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Idioms and Phrases with set sail
Also, make sail. Begin a voyage on water, as in Dad rented a yacht, and we're about to set sail for the Caribbean, or We'll make sail for the nearest port. These expressions, dating from the early 1500s, originally meant “put the sails in position to catch the wind,” and hence cause the vessel to move.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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