Definition of plain sailing in English:

plain sailing


  • mass noun, often with negative Smooth and easy progress in a process or activity.

    ‘team-building was not all plain sailing’
    • ‘It may not all be plain sailing, down the line, however, at which point the group could tap into the market with another judicious purchase.’
    • ‘It wasn't all plain sailing for the brothers in what was fast becoming a competitive market, and the early 1990s recession hit the business hard.’
    • ‘The past 18 months have not been plain sailing for Rose.’
    • ‘However, it was not all plain sailing for the group.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that cost savings are being made and getting through to the bottom line of company profit and loss accounts but, inevitably, it is not all plain sailing.’
    • ‘These are mere examples, but the point remains - democracy is never plain sailing even in well established ones in the West.’
    • ‘Making money out of commercial property seems like child's play in today's over-heated market but it is not always such plain sailing.’
    • ‘I was expecting it all to be quite hard work but, in a surprising show of bureaucratic efficiency, it was mostly smooth and plain sailing.’
    • ‘But since funding for the marina was first announced in 2001 the project has encountered anything but plain sailing.’
    • ‘But the passage of the plan through the bureaucratic process was not all plain sailing.’
    • ‘Reading some of their newspaper columns, it is clear that the tour has not been plain sailing by any means.’
    • ‘As with any relationship it hasn't always been plain sailing.’
    • ‘A Cotswold rock band are hoping it will be plain sailing when they travel from Chipping Campden to a gig in London's Camden Town on Monday.’
    • ‘It had been anticipated that the entire project would be plain sailing and completed in advance of the Tall Ships' event which the city will host next week.’
    • ‘The Westbury mayor admitted his wheelchair experience had not been plain sailing, and he is determined to support her campaign.’
    • ‘Using the tracks stamped out by a group that had come scrambling up as we dithered, we made it nervously to some shale, believing that the rest of the route would be plain sailing.’
    • ‘Of course nothing is easy in sport and although the Westport men had their fate in their own hands on Sunday, it wasn't all plain sailing.’
    • ‘It may look like easy money, but renting out is not all plain sailing.’
    • ‘However, it won't prove plain sailing for the consortium.’
    • ‘However it was not all plain sailing for Trinity and Greenock, who found opposition from the lower divisions to be of a higher standard than they had expected.’
    uncomplicated, straightforward, simple, easy, effortless, painless, undemanding, unexacting
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Mid 18th century: probably a popular use of plane sailing, denoting the practice of determining a ship's position on the theory that it is moving on a plane.