Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “sail”

See all translations

sail

verb uk   /seɪl/ us  

sail verb (TRAVEL)

B2 [I usually + adv/prep] When a boat or a ship sails, it travels on the water: The boat sailed along/down the coast. As the battleship sailed by/past, everyone on deck waved. The ship was sailing to China.B1 [I or T, usually + adv/prep] to control a boat that has no engine and is pushed by the wind: He sailed the dinghy up the river. She sailed around the world single-handed in her yacht. [I] When a ship sails, it starts its journey, and when people sail from a particular place or at a particular time, they start their journey in a ship: Their ship sails for Bombay next Friday.
More examples

sail verb (MOVE QUICKLY)

[I + adv/prep] to move quickly, easily, and (of a person) confidently: The ball went sailing over the garden fence. He wasn't looking where he was going, and just sailed straight into her. Manchester United sailed on (= continued easily) to victory in the final.

sail

noun uk   /seɪl/ us  

sail noun (MATERIAL)

C2 [C] a sheet of material attached to a pole on a boat to catch the wind and make the boat move: to hoist/lower the sails [C] On a windmill , a sail is any of the wide blades that are turned by the wind in order to produce power.

sail noun (TRAVEL)

[S] a journey by boat or ship: It's two days' sail/It's a two-day sail (= a journey of two days by sea) from here to the nearest island.set sail C2 to begin a boat journey: We set sail from Kuwait. They set sail for France.
Idioms
(Definition of sail from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of sail?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “sail” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

exercise

physical activity that you do to make your body strong and healthy

Word of the Day

Byronic, Orwellian and Darwinian: adjectives from names.

by Liz Walter,
April 15, 2015
Becoming an adjective is a strange kind of memorial, but it is often a sign of a person having had real influence on the world. Science is full of examples, from Hippocrates, the Greek medic born around 460 BC, who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath still used by doctors today,

Read More 

bio-inspiration noun

April 13, 2015
the adoption of patterns and structures found in nature for the purposes of engineering, manufacturing, science, etc. The MIT researchers actually aren’t the only robotics team to turn to cheetahs for bio-inspiration.

Read More