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plain sailing

Smooth, uninterrupted, and/or easy progress, movement, or development. Now that we've gotten that problem figured out, the project should be plain sailing from here on! We've got about a 13-hour road trip ahead of us, but it looks like plain sailing for most of it.
See also: plain, sailing

sail against the wind

To work to achieve something amid challenging circumstances, such as staunch opposition. This nautical phrase refers to the difficulty of sailing in the opposite direction as the wind. I know that I am sailing against the wind to try get this unpopular law passed, but I am confident that it will ultimately make our town a safer place.
See also: sail, wind

sail before the wind

To achieve something easily. This nautical phrase refers to the ease of sailing in the same direction as the wind. I don't understand people who just sail before the wind and get great grades without ever opening a book, when I study really hard and am just an average student. I hardly studied, and I still got A's on all of my exams—I really sailed before the wind this semester!
See also: before, sail, wind

clear sailing

Describing a situation that is free of obstacles or challenges, especially after obstacles or challenges have been overcome. We should be there soon—now that we're past the traffic jam, it should be clear sailing from here on out.
See also: clear, sailing

be plain sailing

To be smooth, uninterrupted, and/or easy, especially as of progress, travel, or development. Now that we've gotten that problem figured out, the project should be plain sailing from here on! We've got about 13 hours of driving ahead of us, but it looks like most of it is plain sailing.
See also: plain, sailing

sail close to the wind

To do something risky or dangerous. If you keep sailing close to the wind, the police are going to arrest you eventually.
See also: close, sail, wind

*clear sailing

 and *smooth sailing
Fig. a situation where progress is made without any difficulty. (*Typically: be ~; have ~.) Once you've passed that exam, it will be clear sailing to graduation. Working there was not all smooth sailing. The boss had a very bad temper.
See also: clear, sailing

false colors

Pretense, misrepresentation, or hypocrisy; deceptive statements or actions. For example, She's sailing under false colors-she claims to be a Republican, but endorses Democratic legislation . This term alludes to the practice of pirate ships sailing under false colors-that is, running a particular flag specifically to lure another vessel close enough to be captured. [Late 1600s]
See also: color, false

plain sailing

Easy going; straightforward, unobstructed progress. For example, The first few months were difficult, but I think it's plain sailing from here on. Alluding to navigating waters free of hazards, such as rocks or other obstructions, this term was transferred to other activities in the early 1800s.
See also: plain, sailing

sail close to the wind

Be on the verge of doing something illegal or improper, as in She was sailing pretty close to the wind when she called him a liar. This term alludes to the danger incurred when literally sailing too close to (that is, in the direction of) the wind. Its figurative use dates from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: close, sail, wind

smooth sailing

Easy progress, as in We had a hard time setting up the new computer system but it'll be smooth sailing from here on . The smooth in this idiom alludes to calm waters, free from big waves or roughness, a usage dating from the late 1300s. The transfer to other kinds of easy progress dates from the second half of the 1900s. Also see plain sailing.
See also: sailing, smooth

be sailing under false colours

If someone or something is sailing under false colours, they are deliberately deceiving people. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. This report sails under false colours. It claims to be a fair and rigorous examination of the issue, but it is no such thing. Note: When pirate ships spotted a treasure ship, they often took down their own flag and raised the flag of a friendly nation, in order to get close enough to the ship to attack it.
See also: colour, false, sailing

plain sailing


smooth sailing

COMMON If an activity or task is plain sailing, it is easy to do or achieve. Once I got used to the diet it was plain sailing and I lost six kilos over a four month period. All of a sudden, my life started to improve, which is not to say that it was all smooth sailing from then on. Note: In American English, you can also use the expressions clear sailing and easy sailing. It's not going to be clear sailing. He's bound to come up with some tough opposition. Once I'd done the paperwork, the rest was easy sailing. Note: `Plain sailing' is sailing in good conditions, without any difficulties. However, the expression may have come from `plane sailing', a method of working out the position of a ship and planning its route using calculations based on the earth being flat rather than round. This is a simple and easy method which is fairly accurate over short distances, especially near the equator.
See also: plain, sailing

sail close to the wind

mainly BRITISH
If someone or something sails close to the wind, they take a risk by doing or saying something which almost breaks rules or laws. Max warned her she was sailing dangerously close to the wind and risked prosecution. I have never known a comedy series to sail so close to the wind. Note: If someone sails a boat too close to the wind, they try to sail in the direction from which the wind is blowing, and stop or capsize as a result.
See also: close, sail, wind

plain sailing

used to characterize a process or activity that goes well and is easy and uncomplicated.
See also: plain, sailing

sail close to (or near) the wind

verge on indecency, dishonesty, or disaster. informal
This originated as a nautical expression, meaning ‘sail as nearly against the wind as is possible’. It has been in figurative use since the mid 19th century.
1996 Martin Dove How To Win Any Consumer Competition I like the extra thrill of writing to a tight deadline but sometimes I do sail a bit close to the wind with closing dates.
See also: close, sail, wind

be (all) plain ˈsailing

(American English also be clear ˈsailing) be simple and free from trouble: Life with him isn’t all plain sailing, you know.She answered the first question well and from then on it was all plain sailing.
See also: plain, sailing

sail close to the ˈwind

behave in a way that is almost illegal or socially unacceptable: She’s been late for work three times this week, which is sailing close to the wind, I think.
See also: close, sail, wind

clear sailing

mod. easy; easy going. It’ll be clear sailing from now on.
See also: clear, sailing
References in periodicals archive ?
The Journal of Commerce has published sailing schedules throughout its illustrious history and launched the JOC Sailings brand in 2008 to effectively distribute up-to-date sailing information online.
San Francisco has historically been a great summer home port for us, and now passengers can combine the convenience and appeal of departing from this world-class city, with sailing on a small ship that offers big-ship choice.
On these same sailings, AARP Passport powered by Travelocity offers a program tailored specially for travelers age 50 plus as part of the AARP Passport Cruise Collection.
7-night Mexican Riviera cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas, April 17-24, sailing from Los Angeles.
Six-day sailings between Barcelona and Rome depart: April 15, 29; October 21; November 11, 2012.
An 8-night Eastern Caribbean Holiday sailing on the brand new Caribbean Princess.
7-Day Sailing from Athens to Rome plus Two Free Hotel Nights in Athens from $2,299 per person, double occupancy
Michelle Bernstein, executive chef/owner of MB Restaurant, Co-host of "Melting Pot," sailing on the September 9, 2005, Alaska cruise aboard the ms Statendam.
For more details and additional suggested sailings for first-timers, visit www.
The ship's November 3, seven-night sailing has been modified.
Early booking fares for Princess' 2004-05 Caribbean season begin at $549 for seven-day sailings and $899 for 10-day cruises.
cruise line with the two largest sailing clipper ships ever built,
Princess has announced a new series of roundtrip sailings from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera on the Star Princess this fall.
The special promotion includes two-for-one fares on all Princess Mediterranean sailings, plus complimentary Princess Travel Care(SM) insurance that offers "cancel for any reason" coverage.
The newest ship in Princess' fleet, Star Princess offers identical Inside Passage ports of call from Seattle, departing on Saturdays versus Diamond Princess' Sunday sailings.