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 Sad because the owner didn’t immediately peg me as a guy who loves his native cuisine and wouldn’t dream of using anything but my well-washed hand to ferry it from plate to lips. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Hand-washing stations, temperature checks, QR codes: A dispatch from inside 3 reopened restaurants," 29 June 2020 Viruses, including Marburg and Ebola, have been found to hijack filopodia, forcing them to grow longer, branch, and ferry virus particles into their neighbors. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Old Drugs Could Reveal a New Way to Attack the Coronavirus," 27 June 2020 Zoox, a 1,000-person startup based in Foster City, California, has been developing a prototype for driverless cars to ferry passengers around in urban areas via an app, but Amazon could potentially also use the vehicles to deliver packages. Fortune, "Amazon is buying self-driving vehicle startup Zoox," 26 June 2020 The job of powering the global internet rests on a complex network of more than 400 submarine cables that ferry reams of data around the world at high speed, 24/7. Mary Hui, Quartz, "An undersea internet cable is the latest snag in US-China tensions over Hong Kong," 19 June 2020 So the District offered shuttle service — two shuttles to ferry students back and forth. Washington Post, "In debate over school shuttle, Capitol Hill parents confront race, equity — and their commutes," 17 June 2020 The socially distant ceremony called for families to ferry their graduating seniors to the Columbia County Courthouse, where each student ascended the steps to receive their diploma and place a bookend on the last 13 years. oregonlive, "Scheduling is a delicate dance for St. Helens High’s Savannah Manning: 2020 senior portraits," 15 June 2020 The park grew in popularity and added its steamboat to ferry guests to and from the park. Charles Infosino, Cincinnati.com, "So, what's Coney Island gonna be like with no rides?," 12 June 2020 Coronavirus lockdowns worldwide have slowed the movement of Military Postal Service mail from military installations, while U.S. embassy and consulate shutdowns have limited diplomatic pouches that help ferry mail stateside. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Coronavirus infects Pentagon’s voting assistance program," 5 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Regional Measure 3 was designed to raise $4.5 billion to improve and increase bus, ferry, BART and commuter rail service. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Measure raising Bay Area bridge tolls was legal, appeals court rules," 29 June 2020 As a precaution, rabbits and rabbit products were banned from the ferry system that services Puget Sound. Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, "The Rabbit Outbreak," 29 June 2020 McCombe said seasonal, high-speed ferry trips from Newport to Block Island are also on hold until further notice. USA TODAY, "Marathon man, Veep visit, mask mandates: News from around our 50 states," 26 June 2020 Rock Island is only accessible via two ferry rides (or your own boat) but is closed until at least July 1. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Coronavirus hasn't completely canceled summer in Wisconsin. Here are things you can do across the state," 18 June 2020 Daily ferry transport is available from Grand Portage, Minnesota, the scenic end point of this North Shore excursion. Katy Spratte Joyce, Travel + Leisure, "7 Best Midwest Road Trips in the U.S.," 14 June 2020 Recent outbreaks have been reported among seafood workers and ferry crew members. BostonGlobe.com, "Coronavirus hospitalizations rise sharply in several states following Memorial Day," 10 June 2020 Signage at the ferry says masks are required and workers pray that people will comply, Shepler said. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Mackinac Island businesses are spending a lot of money on coronavirus safety," 9 June 2020 The isolated Alabama community, home to 230 people on 2.6 square miles, is surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River and most easily accessed by ferry. Kelly Kazek | Kkazek@al.com, al, "The colorful folk-art quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama," 1 June 2020

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 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ferry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferry. Accessed 13 Jul. 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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