Open main menu
See also: Sail, SAIL, sáil, sàil, and saïl



English 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 1Edit

From Middle English saile, sayle, seil, seyl, from Old English seġl, from Proto-Germanic *seglą (compare earlier Middle Low German segel and later Low German sail), cognate with Dutch zeil, German Segel, Danish sejl, Norwegian Bokmål seil, Norwegian Nynorsk segl from pre-Germanic/Celtic sek-lo (compare Welsh hwyl, Irish séol), from Proto-Indo-European *sek- 'to cut'. More at saw.


sail (countable and uncountable, 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. (nautical,uncountable) The concept of a sail or sails, as if a substance.
    Take in sail: a storm is coming.
  3. (uncountable) The power harnessed by a sail or sails, or the use of this power for travel or transport.
  4. A trip in a boat, especially a sailboat.
    Let's go for a sail.
  5. (dated, plural "sail") A sailing vessel; a vessel of any kind; a craft.
    Twenty sail were in sight.
  6. The blade of a windmill.
  7. A tower-like structure found on the dorsal (topside) surface of submarines.
  8. The floating organ of siphonophores, such as the Portuguese man-of-war.
  9. (fishing) A sailfish.
    We caught three sails today.
  10. (paleontology) an outward projection of the spine, occurring in certain dinosaurs and synapsids
  11. Anything resembling a sail, such as a wing.
    • Spenser
      Like an eagle soaring / To weather his broad sails.
Derived termsEdit
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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English sailen, saylen, seilen, seilien, from Old English seġlian (to sail), from Proto-Germanic *seglōną, *siglijaną (to sail). Cognate with Saterland Frisian sailje (to sail), German Low German seilen (to sail), Dutch zeilen (to sail), German segeln (to sail), Danish sejle (to sail), Swedish segla (to sail), Norwegian Bokmål segle (to sail), Icelandic - and Norwegian Nynorsk sigla (to sail).


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.
    • 2002 March 20, Kazuki Takahashi, Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories (PlayStation video game, North American version), Konami:
      [flavor text of the card "Spirit of the Winds"]
      A spirit of the wind that freely sails the skies.
    • 2011 April 15, Saj Chowdhury, “Norwich 2 - 1 Nott'm Forest”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      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 termsEdit





  1. area



Borrowed from English sail. Doublet of zeil



sail n (plural sails)

  1. (nautical) The fin or sail of a submarine.
    Synonym: toren


Alternative formsEdit


From Old Irish sal, from Proto-Celtic *salā.



sail f (genitive singular saile)

  1. dirt, dross, impurity
    sail mhiotailmetal dross
  2. stain, defilement
    sail pheacathe stain of sin


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


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

Further readingEdit



sail (nominative plural sails)

  1. (nautical) sail


Derived termsEdit