sail close to the wind

(redirected from sailing close to the wind)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
Related to sailing close to the wind: To raise the wind

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

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

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

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

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

sail close to (near) the wind, to

To come close to breaking a law or approaching impropriety. The analogy to sailing dangerously close to the wind began to be made in the nineteenth century. Coleridge’s son Hartley, in a critical edition of the plays of Massinger and Ford (1840), used it: “Her language sails a little too near the wind.” It is heard less often today.
See also: close, sail
References in periodicals archive ?
numbers now, its are n qulio Consultant Dr Fiona Wisniacki told him they were already "sailing close to the wind every day" in the unit built to cope with 20,000 emergency admissions a year but now dealing with 50,000.
They also gave United an example of how to win a football match by sailing close to the wind.
STEPHEN SWIFT admits he'll be sailing close to the wind if his Stranraer side knock St Mirren's title ambitions off course today.
SUPER SOCCER are sailing close to the wind by offering Feyenoord at 5-4 to beat Newcastle tonight, a price too inviting to pass up.
CHRIS "call me Chris, man" Davies, the region's Euro MP, has been sailing close to the wind with calls for all drugs to be made legal.
But Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said: 'David Blunkett is sailing close to the wind with pressing the panic button.
So what chance have we small punters got when time after time we read of rumours of people sailing close to the wind to put it mildly?
GARDAI are sailing close to the wind over threatened plans to revolt over pay cuts.
Lisa knows she's been sailing close to the wind and decides she's got to tell Mark before someone else does.
Toadie, who is still deceiving his girlfriend Rebecca about his age and profession, finds himself sailing close to the wind.
Home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said: "David Blunkett is sailing close to the wind with pressing the panic button.