fer·​ry | \ ˈfer-ē How to pronounce ferry (audio) , ˈfe-rē \
ferried; ferrying

Definition of ferry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to carry by boat over a body of water
b : to cross by a ferry
2a : to convey (as by aircraft or motor vehicle) from one place to another : transport
b : to fly (an airplane) from the factory or other shipping point to a designated delivery point or from one base to another

intransitive verb

: to cross water in a boat


plural ferries

Definition of ferry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a place where persons or things are carried across a body of water (such as a river) in a boat
3 : a franchise or right to operate a ferry service across a body of water
4 : an organized service and route for flying airplanes especially across a sea or continent for delivery to the user

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Synonyms for ferry

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of ferry in a Sentence

Verb The cars were ferried across the river. They ferry supplies to the island. Noun Ferries to both islands depart daily. You can get there by ferry. We'll meet you at the ferry.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The defenseless cargo ships and aircraft that would ferry much of that force across the Pacific would be attacked every step of the way. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "How China is positioning to neuter America’s military status as top dog," 28 May 2020 Like the Russian Soyuz capsule that has ferried all astronauts to the space station for the past decade, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is equipped with an abort system that can punt astronauts to safety if anything happens before, during, or after launch. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "How Do Astronauts Escape When a Space Launch Goes Wrong?," 20 May 2020 The company announced the flight on social media and shared photos of the craft on the runway and members of the crew stationed far apart around the special carrier plane that ferries the smaller spaceship to high altitude. USA TODAY, "Virgin Galactic completes first glide flight landing in New Mexico desert," 2 May 2020 Boeing began work on the planes just two months ago, converting two commercial airliners into VIP transports that will ferry the President of the United States and his entourage around the world well into the 2050s. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Next-Gen Air Force One Is Already Over Budget," 30 Apr. 2020 Bennu is a dark-coloured and primitive asteroid, similar to those that could have ferried water and other important chemical compounds throughout the early Solar System. Alexandra Witze, Scientific American, "NASA Asteroid Hunter Chooses Landing Site on Boulder-Strewn Space Rock," 16 Dec. 2019 One side of the mesh is also in contact with the liquid electrolyte, which helps ferry protons over from the anode. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Making commodity chemicals requires fossil fuels. New devices could do it with renewables," 4 May 2020 In 1869, the city started ferrying inmates from the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island to Hart Island alongside the unclaimed deceased from Bellevue Hospital. John Hirschauer, National Review, "New York City’s Island of the Dead," 28 Apr. 2020 Caye Caulker is a small island that is easily accessible by taxi and then ferry from Belize City, where the main international airport is. Claire Trageser, Travel + Leisure, "The 50 Best Romantic Getaways," 28 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Travelers are encouraged to buy ferry tickets in advance, to help the companies with advanced planning. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Put-in-Bay vs. the pandemic: Island fun will look different this summer, with social distancing requirements, ban on live entertainment," 22 May 2020 The town is only accessible by boat or airplane, and Parker used to have his Costco orders delivered via Alaska's ferry system. Catherine Garcia, TheWeek, "The week's good news: May 21, 2020," 21 May 2020 The state’s ferry system is expected to receive an initial injection of $5 million in federal coronavirus recovery funding, officials said. USA TODAY, "Subdued funeral for Zulu king, sewing guild fixes masks, mayor defies NM governor: News from around our 50 states," 28 Apr. 2020 The transit agency has also seen $80,000 in less revenue for its bus and ferry system. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: March 18-19," 24 Apr. 2020 The northwestern Moroccan port city of Tangier, just a 20-minute ferry ride away from Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar, is a tantalizing medley of old-world traditions, modern marvels, and international luxury. Michelle Stansbury, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Tangier, Morocco," 20 Mar. 2020 The ferry system seemed just right to this backpacking Goldilocks. Elaine Glusac, New York Times, "Who Needs a Caribbean Yacht When You Can Take the Ferry?," 10 Feb. 2020 It can be reached in less than an hour via a free bus from Changi International Airport and then a short ferry ride (from $3). Wufei Yu, Outside Online, "Adventure Detours in the World's Most Visited Cities," 27 Jan. 2020 Just a ferry ride away, in Red Hook, the power would remain off for weeks after the storm passed. Kevin Lozano, The New Republic, "Can the Internet Survive Climate Change?," 18 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ferry.' 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 ferry


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for ferry


Middle English ferien, from Old English ferian to carry, convey; akin to Old English faran to go — more at fare

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Time Traveler for ferry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ferry

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ferry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferry. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for ferry


How to pronounce ferry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ferry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to carry or move (someone or something) on a vehicle (such as a boat or a car) usually for a short distance between two places



English Language Learners Definition of ferry (Entry 2 of 2)

: a place where a ferryboat operates


fer·​ry | \ ˈfer-ē How to pronounce ferry (audio) \
ferried; ferrying

Kids Definition of ferry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to carry by boat over a body of water
2 : to cross a body of water by a ferryboat
3 : to transport for a short distance


plural ferries

Kids Definition of ferry (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : a place where persons or things are ferried

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More from Merriam-Webster on ferry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ferry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ferry

Spanish Central: Translation of ferry

Nglish: Translation of ferry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ferry for Arabic Speakers

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