One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1With reference to a vessel: (sailing) with a strong favourable wind or at full speed; (in later use also) with all sails set.
2Figurative. Used especially to suggest rapid or unimpeded progress.
3In singular and (occasionally) plural Originally: (the condition of a ship with) sails filled or distended by the wind (chiefly figurative). In later use: (the condition of a ship with) the full complement of sails set.
Under full sail (literal and figurative).
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Morte Arthure. From full + sail.
full sail/ˌfʊl ˈseɪl/
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