GALE, n. A current of air; a strong wind. The sense of this word is very indefinite. The poets use it in the sense of a moderate breeze of current of air, as a gentle gale. A stronger wind is called a fresh gale.
In the language of seamen, the word gale,unaccompanied by an epithet, signifies a vehement wind, a storm or tempest. They say, the ship carried away her top-mast in a gale, or gale of wind; the ship rode out the gale. But the word is often qualified, as a hard or strong gale, a violent gale. A current of wind somewhat less violent is denominated a stiff gale. A less vehement wind is called a fresh gale, which is a wind not too strong for a ship to carry single reefed top-sails, when close hauled. When the wind is not so violent but that a ship will carry her top-sails a-trip or full spread, it is called a loom-gale.
GALE, v.i. In seamen's language, to sail, or sail fast.