noun, often attributive
\ ˈship How to pronounce ship (audio) \
plural ships

Definition of ship

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a large seagoing vessel
b : a sailing vessel having a bowsprit and usually three masts each composed of a lower mast, a topmast, and a topgallant mast
2 : boat especially : one propelled by power or sail
3 : a ship's crew
4 : fortune sense 2 when their ship comes in they'll be able to live in better style

— see also take ship


verb (1)
shipped; shipping

Definition of ship (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to place or receive on board a ship for transportation by water
b : to cause to be transported shipped him off to prep school
2 obsolete : to provide with a ship
3 : to put in place for use ship the tiller
4 : to take into a ship or boat ship the gangplank
5 : to engage for service on a ship
6 : to take (water) over the side used of a boat or a ship

intransitive verb

1 : to embark on a ship
2a : to go or travel by ship often used with out
b : to proceed by ship or other means under military orders often used with out
3 : to engage to serve on shipboard
4 : to be sent for delivery the order will ship soon


verb (2)
shipped; shipping; ships

Definition of ship (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to hope, wish, imagine or assert that (two people or fictional characters) are romantically involved or will become romantically involved Naturally, their followers gushed … and started shipping them all over again. "Please be back together," one user commented …— Alyssa Morin The Office's on-and-off pairing remained so tantalizingly close after the series wrapped in 2013 that even [Mindy] Kaling gets why people are still shipping them.— Sarah Grossbart Sean Astin, who portrayed Bob Newby, the love interest of Ryder's character, Joyce Byers, in season 2, told Us Weekly exclusively earlier this month that he hopes Jim and Joyce will end up together. "I've shipped them since the beginning," the 49-year-old declared.— Samantha Leffler One close friendship does develop between two girls, and while fans of other Dreamworks shows like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power may start shipping them, budding romance at this point is only wishful thinking.— Alana Joli Abbott How does one even begin to write about Anne and Diana? … Megan Followes herself ships them.— Danny M. Lavery


noun suffix

Definition of -ship (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : state : condition : quality friendship
2 : office : dignity : profession clerkship
3 : art : skill horsemanship
4 : something showing, exhibiting, or embodying a quality or state township fellowship
5 : one entitled to a (specified) rank, title, or appellation his Lordship
6 : the body of persons participating in a specified activity readership listenership

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Other Words from ship

Verb (1)

shippable \ ˈshi-​pə-​bəl How to pronounce -ship (audio) \ adjective

Verb (2)

shipper noun, plural shippers informal
… this scene also gave reluctant shippers a safe space in which to imagine an X-Files romance without having to commit … — Kat Rosenfield
shipping noun, informal
Once, shipping was mostly a sci-fi/fantasy thing. Today, shipping—like love—knows no bounds. — Jeff Jensen

Synonyms & Antonyms for ship

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb (1)

Antonyms: Verb (1)

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Examples of ship in a Sentence

Noun the captain of the ship He will travel by ship. Verb (1) The goods were shipped from a foreign port. Your order is expected to ship soon. The company will ship its new software next month. The software will ship next month. The soldiers were shipped overseas for duty. When the waves increased, the boat began shipping water.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The first female chaplain was also aboard that ship. Sheryl Devore,, "Naval Station Great Lakes women hope to take advantage of greater opportunities now available," 4 Mar. 2021 As a backup dancer with LFO and O-Town, other Pearlman groups; 10 months on a cruise ship; with an arena program teaching children about nutrition, exercise and the arts. Matthew J. Palm,, "‘Josephine’ star Tymisha Harris thrives on life’s adventures," 3 Mar. 2021 Newton worked on a slave trade ship in the 1700s, but through a series of events realized the evil of the trade and became an ordained minister and worked to dismantle slavery in England. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "Tennessee is hoping to make Dolly Parton's 'Amazing Grace' an official state song," 2 Mar. 2021 The USS Arizona Memorial is the resting place of more than a thousand sailors and Marines killed on the ship during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "Oahu Travel Guide," 1 Mar. 2021 Mark and Jerri Jorgensen were a happy couple on a cruise ship a year ago visiting various parts of Japan. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "One year later, Utah’s first COVID-19 patient recalls ‘surreal’ experience," 28 Feb. 2021 On Wednesday morning, a ship carrying the three giant cranes, valued at $30 million, sailed under the Bay Bridge. Shwanika Narayan,, "Port of Oakland will soon get its tallest container cranes," 30 Dec. 2020 The first three people on the Sergeant Aldea vessel tested positive last week and all 208 crewmembers are being quarantined aboard that ship, according to the navy. Fox News, "First coronavirus cases hit Antarctica," 24 Dec. 2020 Another case has been reported at an Antarctic village where that ship docked, according to regional health secretary Eduardo Castillo. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: California moves to brink of 2M cases; US nears deal with Pfizer for more vaccine doses; COVID-19 reaches Antarctica," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Locus aims to increase the volume of products a company can ship out of a warehouse by pairing robots with humans. Globe Staff,, "Locus Robotics raises $150 million, reaching ‘unicorn’ status amid boom in warehouse automation," 17 Feb. 2021 Because of the pandemic, the DEA said, drug smugglers are traveling less, forcing them to ship larger amounts of drugs, which can make the drugs more susceptible to seizure. Dallas News, "DEA’s Dallas office announces seizure of $45 million in meth, heroin — its largest bust ever," 28 Jan. 2021 The bobblehead is manufactured by Foco and is scheduled to ship no later than Tuesday, May 18. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Shane Bieber Cy Young Award bobblehead available," 16 Jan. 2021 The three models support the S Pen stylus used in its Note series phones, but all three models ship without a charger, which Samsung says is for sustainability reasons. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, "Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones are smarter and cheaper but don't come with a charger," 14 Jan. 2021 The company also plans to provide its fleet customers with service and maintenance for the trucks, which promise a zero-emission way to ship heavy freight and go farther than EVs currently can. David Welch,, "Nikola Faces a Daunting Future With Far Fewer Friends Than Before," 14 Jan. 2021 Studios rarely expend the effort to ship crews so far north without also including some Alaska mystique in the plot. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Remember ‘Pipe Dreams,’ the 1976 Alaska pipeline film starring soul legend Gladys Knight? You’re one of the few.," 11 Jan. 2021 Determining where and when to ship doses to get as many people inoculated in the least amount of time. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "How A.I. can speed up the COVID-19 vaccination drive," 5 Jan. 2021 The authorization is Europe’s first for a Covid-19 vaccine, and Pfizer said it’s prepared to immediately ship doses to the 27 member states from manufacturing sites in Germany and Belgium. Damian Garde, STAT, "Pharmalittle: EU clears Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine; Americans are increasingly willing to get the shot," 22 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ship.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ship


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Verb (2)

1998, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ship


Middle English, from Old English scip; akin to Old High German skif ship

Verb (2)

verbal derivative of ship "romantic pairing of a fictional couple," shortened from relationship

Noun suffix

Middle English, from Old English -scipe; akin to Old High German -scaft -ship, Old English scieppan to shape — more at shape

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Time Traveler for ship

Time Traveler

The first known use of ship was before the 12th century

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Statistics for ship

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for ship



English Language Learners Definition of ship

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large boat used for traveling long distances over the sea
: a large airplane or spacecraft


noun suffix

English Language Learners Definition of -ship (Entry 2 of 2)

: the state or condition of being something
: the position, status, or duties of something
: skill or ability as someone or something


\ ˈship How to pronounce ship (audio) \

Kids Definition of ship

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a large boat designed for travel by sea
3 : a vehicle for traveling beyond the earth's atmosphere a rocket ship


shipped; shipping

Kids Definition of ship (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to cause to be transported The grain was shipped by rail.
2 : to put or receive on board for transportation by water
3 : to send (someone) to a place They shipped her off to boarding school.
4 : to take into a ship or boat ship oars ship water
5 : to sign on as a crew member on a ship


noun suffix
\ ˌship \

Kids Definition of -ship

1 : state : condition : quality friendship
2 : office : rank : profession authorship
3 : skill penmanship
4 : something showing a quality or state of being championship township
5 : someone having a specified rank your Lordship

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