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.

    • ‘Ships were dressed with flags and sailors climbed the rigging or stood on decks, caps in hand, to cheer the Queen.’
    • ‘He looked ahead and a saw a large crowd of sailors gathering around a docked ship.’
    • ‘The sailors on the patrol boat thought I was going to fall, so grabbed me by my clothes.’
    • ‘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.’
    seaman, seafarer, seafaring man, mariner
    boatman, yachtsman, yachtswoman
    hand, crew member
    sea dog, bluejacket
    matelot, matlow, matlo
    tar, jack tar, hearty
    crew, complement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually with adjective]A person who goes sailing as a sport or recreation.
      ‘she was a keen sailor’
      • ‘I'd picked up that he was an expert sailor of dinghies and had twice won something called the Prince of Wales Cup.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was a member of the sailing club and stalwart sailor and racer who lost his life at sea last year.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2A 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.