Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: Sail


Wikipedia has an article on:


Two sailboats racing,
with the wind filling their sails
A square-rigged sail
Dimetrodon loomisi, a synapsid species with a sail (spine projection).


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English saile, sayle, seil, seyl, from Old English seġl, seġel, from Proto-Germanic *seglą (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.


sail ‎(plural sails)

  1. (nautical) 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.
  2. (uncountable) The power harnessed by a sail or sails, or the use this power for travel or transport.
  3. A trip in a boat, especially a sailboat.
    Let's go for a sail.
  4. (dated) A sailing vessel; a vessel of any kind; a craft. Plural sail.
    Twenty sail were in sight.
  5. The blade of a windmill.
  6. A tower-like structure found on the dorsal (topside) surface of submarines.
  7. The floating organ of siphonophores, such as the Portuguese man-of-war.
  8. (fishing) A sailfish.
    We caught three sails today.
  9. (paleontology) an outward projection of the spine, occurring in certain dinosaurs and synapsids
  10. Anything resembling a sail, such as a wing.
    • Spenser
      Like an eagle soaring / To weather his broad sails.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

Old English seġlian, cognate to earlier Middle Low German segelen and its descendant Low German sailen.


sail ‎(third-person singular simple present sails, present participle sailing, simple past and past participle sailed)

  1. 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 steam or other power.
  2. To move through or on the water; to swim, as a fish or a waterfowl.
  3. To ride in a boat, especially a sailboat.
  4. To set sail; to begin a voyage.
    We sail for Australia tomorrow.
  5. To move briskly and gracefully through the air.
    • Shakespeare
      As is a winged messenger of heaven, [] / When he bestrides the lazy pacing clouds, / And sails upon the bosom of the air.
    • 2011 April 15, Saj Chowdhury, “Norwich 2 - 1 Nott'm Forest”[1], BBC Sport:
      A hopeful ball from Forest right-back Brendan Moloney to the left edge of the area was met first by Ruddy but his attempted clearance rebounded off Tyson's leg and sailed in.
  6. To move briskly.
    The duchess sailed haughtily out of the room.
Derived terms[edit]





  1. area



EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions.


sail f ‎(genitive singular saile)

  1. dirt, dross, impurity
  2. stain, defilement



Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
sail shail
after "an", tsail
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.



sail ‎(plural sails)

  1. (nautical) sail


Derived terms[edit]