Also found in: Idioms.
Related to under sail: in full sail
a. A piece of fabric sewn together and fitted to the spars and rigging of a vessel so as to convert the force of the wind into forward motion of the vessel.
b. The sails of a ship or boat.
c. A narrow fairwater supporting the bridge of a submarine.
2. pl. sail or sails Nautical A sailing vessel.
3. Nautical A trip or voyage in a sailing craft.
4. Something, such as the blade of a windmill, that resembles a sail in form or function.
v. sailed, sail·ing, sails
a. To move across the surface of water, especially by means of a sailing vessel.
b. To travel by water in a vessel.
c. To start out on such a voyage or journey: Tomorrow we sail for the islands.
d. To operate a sailing craft, especially for sport.
2. To move along or progress smoothly or effortlessly: sailed into the room five minutes late; sailed through the exam; sailed through the red light.
3. To move along through the air: The ball sailed into the stands.
v.tr. NauticalPhrasal Verb:
1. To navigate or manage (a vessel).
2. To voyage upon or across: sail the Pacific.
To attack or criticize vigorously: sailed into the workmen for the shoddy job they were doing.
Nautical With the sails up; sailing.
[Middle English seil, from Old English segl. Sail into, from obsolete sail, to attack, from Middle English sailen, short for assailen; see assail.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.