Definition of sailor in English:



  • 1A person whose job it is to work as a member of the crew of a commercial or naval ship or boat, especially one who is below the rank of officer.

    ‘Hawaii was an important stopping point for sailors to restock provisions’
    • ‘He looked ahead and a saw a large crowd of sailors gathering around a docked ship.’
    • ‘All the boats are captained by professional sailors but the rest of the crew are amateurs.’
    • ‘As dawn broke, with the master's consent, sailors from the USS Bunker Hill boarded the vessel.’
    • ‘The sailors on the patrol boat thought I was going to fall, so grabbed me by my clothes.’
    • ‘Ships were dressed with flags and sailors climbed the rigging or stood on decks, caps in hand, to cheer the Queen.’
    seaman, seafarer, seafaring man, mariner
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually with adjective or noun modifier A person who goes sailing as a sport or recreation.
      ‘he is a keen sailor in his spare time’
      • ‘She had wide interests, was a keen dinghy sailor and took an active part in youth welfare.’
      • ‘She is also a keen sailor, who is on track for her yacht master's certificate.’
      • ‘Teddy had always been a keen and intrepid sailor, and after retiring he went to live in St Mawes where he had first learned to sail as a boy.’
      • ‘I'd picked up that he was an expert sailor of dinghies and had twice won something called the Prince of Wales Cup.’
      • ‘He was a member of the sailing club and stalwart sailor and racer who lost his life at sea last year.’
    2. 1.2a good/bad sailor A person who rarely (or often) becomes sick at sea in rough weather.
      • ‘Hamnavoe is a great ship, I'm not a good sailor, but I have never been sick on it yet even in rough weather, which was not the case with the Ola.’
      • ‘I'm not a good sailor and am bringing along a good supply of patches, dramamine, and ginger pills; sounds like they'll be essential since we'll embark from Ushuaia. Do you have any other suggestions for minimizing seasickness?’


Mid 17th century: variant of obsolete sailer.