strike sail



strike sail (third-person singular simple present strikes sail, present participle striking sail, simple past struck sail, past participle struck sail or stricken sail)

  1. (nautical, archaic) To lower the sails (in preparation for dropping anchor, to salute or signal submission, in sudden gusts of wind, etc.).
    Antonym: hoist sail
    • 1568, Thomas Hacket (translator), The New Found World, or Antarctike, by André Thevet, London: Thomas Hacket, Chapter , p. 62,[1]
      [] at the last, famine and other necessities, caused them in the ende to strike sayle and let fall anker.
    • 1627, John Donne, Sermon 24 in Fifty Sermons, London: M.F. et al., Volume 2, 1649, p. 202,[2]
      [] a ship which hath struck Sail, will yet goe on with the winde it had before, for a while,
    • 1652, John Selden, Of the Dominion or Ownership of the Sea, London, Book 2, Chapter 26, p. 402,[3]
      It was accounted Treason, if any Ship whatsoëver had not acknowledged the Dominion of the King of England in his own Sea, by striking Sail:
    • 1656, Robert Sanderson, “Ad Populum” in Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached, London: Henry Seile, p. 408,[4]
      So many new unexpected accidents happen every hour, which no wit of man could foresee; that may make it necessary for us many times to depart from our former most advised resolutions: as the Mariner must strike sail again, (perhaps when he hath but newly hoyst it up,) if the winde and weather change.
    • 1841, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Heroism” in Essays, Boston: James Munroe, p. 215,[5]
      [] O friend, never strike sail to a fear. Come into port greatly, or sail with God the seas.
  2. (figurative, obsolete) To acknowledge one's inferiority (to another person); to abate pretension.
    Synonyms: defer, vail (obsolete)
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act V, Scene 2,[6]
      O that the living Harry had the temper
      Of he, the worst of these three gentlemen!
      How many nobles then should hold their places
      That must strike sail to spirits of vile sort!
    • 1661, Joseph Glanvill, The Vanity of Dogmatizing, London: Henry Eversden,[7]
      Let vaunting Knowledge now strike sail,
      And unto modest Ign’rance vail.
    • 1713, John Arbuthnot, An Invitation to Peace: or, Toby’s Preliminaries to Nestor Ironsides, London: Mr. Lawrence, p. 11,[8]
      [] do you think, Sir, that Mr. Ironsides, who has been well bred, a good Scholar, and a topping Wit, will ever strike Sail to a Fool[?]
    • 1822, Walter Scott, The Pirate, Edinburgh: Archibald Constable, Volume 3, Chapter 1, p. 8,[9]
      I speak in the house of my friend as in my own, and strike sail to none.