Difference Between Sail and Sale
The words ‘sail’ and ‘sale’ are pronounced the same. However, their meanings are completely different and they are often used in different contexts. In addition, ‘sale’ is only a noun, but ‘sail’ is both a noun and a verb.
‘Sail’ originally came from the Proto-Germanic word ‘segla’, which meant any sheet of fabric, but it could be used specifically to mean a certain part on a boat. Because of that association, it was used more often for things associated with boats, ships, and other forms of transportation across the water.
A sail is a piece of fabric attached to a boat – usually tied to a mast – which catches the wind in order to help the boat move. It also came to mean a trip on a boat.
Figuratively, it can also mean something that is designed to be pushed by the wind or use it to move. For example, the blades in a windmill are called sails, and it can be a poetic term for the wings of a bird. A few things that protrude from the back or top of something – such as the large fin on the back of some fish – may also be called a sail.
As a verb, it originally meant to be driven forward by the wind through use of a sail, and that is still one of the primary uses.
“A strong northerly wind allowed the boat to sail more quickly than expected.”
For the same reason above, it has also become the word for many activities on the water. It can generally mean to move across the water. A duck might be said to sail across the water, even though it is swimming and not being carried by the wind. It’s also used for gliding through the air.
“The bird sailed off the cliff and down to the ocean.”
In nautical terms, it generally means to use a boat to travel across water. It’s most often used for a sailboat, but it can be used for types that do not have sails.
“They sailed across the Mediterranean Sea in a rowboat.”
More specifically, it can also mean launching a boat, like in the phrase ‘set sail’.
“We will set sail for Australia tomorrow.”
Occasionally, it means to move quickly and gracefully, though this use isn’t seen as often.
“She sailed through the room.”
A sale, on the other hand, is more straightforward. Originally, it came from the Proto-Germanic word ‘salo’, which meant ‘delivery’. Today, it means the act of exchanging goods or services for money or other currency. This is distinct from an exchange of goods or services for other goods or services. The word for that would be ‘barter’, which is both the noun and the present tense verb. Similarly, giving currency in exchange for goods or services would be a purchase, not a sale.
Unlike ‘sail’, it has a separate word for the verb. ‘Sell’ is the present tense form, and it means to exchange something for currency. Exchanging currency for goods or a service is ‘to buy’ or ‘to purchase’.
The word can also refer to a reduction in prices for an object. If something is being sold for less money, then it is on sale.
To summarize, ‘sail’ means a piece of cloth used to catch the wind to propel a boat and eventually came to mean a voyage on a boat as well as a number of things that stick up from the back or top of an object or animal. ‘To sail’ is to take a trip on a boat or otherwise move through air or water. A sale is an exchange of a good or service for money.
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