1. a vessel, especially a large oceangoing one propelled by sails or engines.
  2. Nautical.
    1. a sailing vessel square-rigged on all of three or more masts, having jibs, staysails, and a spanker on the aftermost mast.
    2. Now Rare.a bark having more than three masts.Compare shipentine.
  3. the crew and, sometimes, the passengers of a vessel: The captain gave the ship shore leave.
  4. an airship, airplane, or spacecraft.

verb (used with object), shipped, ship·ping.

  1. to put or take on board a ship or other means of transportation; to send or transport by ship, rail, truck, plane, etc.
  2. Nautical. to take in (water) over the side, as a vessel does when waves break over it.
  3. to bring (an object) into a ship or boat.
  4. to engage (someone) for service on a ship.
  5. to fix in a ship or boat in the proper place for use.
  6. to place (an oar) in proper position for rowing.Compare boat(def 10).
  7. to send away: They shipped the kids off to camp for the summer.

verb (used without object), shipped, ship·ping.

  1. to go on board or travel by ship; embark.
  2. to engage to serve on a ship.

Verb Phrases

  1. ship out,
    1. to leave, especially for another country or assignment: He said goodby to his family and shipped out for the West Indies.
    2. to send away, especially to another country or assignment.
    3. quit, resign, or be fired from a job: Shape up or ship out!


  1. jump ship,
    1. to escape from a ship, especially one in foreign waters or a foreign port, as to avoid further service as a sailor or to request political asylum.
    2. to withdraw support or membership from a group, organization, cause, etc.; defect or desert: Some of the more liberal members have jumped ship.
  2. run a tight ship, to exercise a close, strict control over a ship’s crew, a company, organization, or the like.
  3. when one’s ship comes in/home, when one’s fortune is assured: She’ll buy a car as soon as her ship comes in.


  1. a romantic relationship between fictional characters, especially one that people discuss, write about, or take an interest in, whether or not the romance actually exists in the original book, show, etc.: popular ships in fan fiction.

verb (used with or without object), shipped, ship·ping.

  1. to discuss, write about, or take an interest in a romantic relationship between (fictional characters): I’m shipping for those guys—they would make a great couple!

  1. a native English suffix of nouns denoting condition, character, office, skill, etc.: clerkship; friendship; statesmanship.


  1. a vessel propelled by engines or sails for navigating on the water, esp a large vessel that cannot be carried aboard another, as distinguished from a boat
  2. nautical a large sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts
  3. the crew of a ship
  4. short for airship, spaceship
  5. informal any vehicle or conveyance
  6. when one’s ship comes in when one has become successful or wealthy

verb ships, shipping or shipped

  1. to place, transport, or travel on any conveyance, esp aboard a shipship the microscopes by aeroplane; can we ship tomorrow?
  2. (tr) nautical to take (water) over the side
  3. to bring or go aboard a vesselto ship oars
  4. (tr often foll by off) informal to send away, often in order to be rid ofthey shipped the children off to boarding school
  5. (intr) to engage to serve aboard a shipI shipped aboard a Liverpool liner
  6. informal (tr) to concede (a goal)Celtic have shipped eight goals in three away matches

suffix forming nouns

  1. indicating state or conditionfellowship
  2. indicating rank, office, or positionlordship
  3. indicating craft or skillhorsemanship; workmanship; scholarship

n.Old English scip “ship, boat,” from Proto-Germanic *skipam (cf. Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Gothic skip, Danish skib, Swedish skepp, Middle Dutch scip, Dutch schip, Old High German skif, German Schiff), “Germanic noun of obscure origin” [Watkins]. Others suggest perhaps originally “tree cut out or hollowed out,” and derive it from PIE root *skei- “to cut, split.” Now a vessel of considerable size, adapted to navigation; the Old English word was used for small craft as well, and definitions changed over time; in 19c., distinct from a boat in having a bowsprit and three masts, each with a lower, top, and topgallant mast. French esquif, Italian schifo are Germanic loan-words. Phrase ships that pass in the night is from Longfellow’s poem “Elizabeth” in “Tales of a Wayside Inn” (1863). Figurative use of nautical runs a tight ship (i.e., one that does not leak) is attested from 1965. v.c.1300, “to send or transport (merchandise, people) by ship; to board a ship; to travel by ship, sail, set sail,” also figurative, from ship (n.). Old English scipian is attested only in the senses “take ship, embark; be furnished with a ship.” Transferred to other means of conveyance (railroad, etc.) from 1857, originally American English. Related: Shipped; shipping. word-forming element meaning “quality, condition; act, power, skill; office, position; relation between,” Middle English -schipe, from Old English -sciepe, Anglian -scip “state, condition of being,” from Proto-Germanic *-skapaz (cf. Old Norse -skapr, Danish -skab, Old Frisian -skip, Dutch -schap, German -schaft), from *skap- “to create, ordain, appoint,” from PIE root *(s)kep- (see shape (v.)). In addition to the idioms beginning with ship

  • ship of state
  • ship out
  • ships that pass in the night
  • also see:

  • desert a sinking ship
  • enough to sink a ship
  • shape up (or ship out)
  • tight ship
  • when one’s ship comes in
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