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
2 : ferryboat
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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Limited rail capacity at key ports means there is now a two-week wait for railcars to ferry wheat from fields in central India to ports on its western tip. Jesse Newman, WSJ, 2 May 2022 That puts a major crimp in the ability to ferry passengers from small destinations to hubs such as DFW. oregonlive, 25 Apr. 2022 But as of now, Mr. Biden and his staff do not see the utility of an expansive covert effort to use the spy agency to ferry in arms as the United States did in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during the 1980s. New York Times, 19 Mar. 2022 American may also ask pilots to make stops to refuel or to ferry in extra fuel to ensure planes have enough for their next takeoff. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, 26 July 2021 Commercial and charter airlines ferry planeloads of one-way travelers to Managua multiple times per week. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2022 Back then police officers also served as first responders and would ferry sick or injured people to the hospital, Hallen says. Jessica Geltstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2022 Today, tankers ferry hydrocarbons siphoned from beneath Appalachia’s shale basin to become plastics in Europe. Rebecca Altman, The Atlantic, 15 Mar. 2022 My stories revolved around my class trips to Vincent van Gogh’s home, learning to speak French, our travels to Italy and ferry boat rides to Canterbury, and a love of eating authentic English fish and chips with tiny forks. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For a day trip, nothing beats a journey to Victoria, British Columbia, by ferry — a route that happens to be a prominent part of the Whale Trail, a series of coastal sites known for their whale sightings and other marine life. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 11 May 2022 The ferry, subsidized by Treasure Island Community Development and operated by Prop SF, is a key element in turning T.I. into a new neighborhood with 8,000 new homes and 300 acres of parks and open space. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Mar. 2022 The team bought the ferry, known as the John F. Kennedy, for $280,100, according to city records. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 The ferry, named Sandy Ground, berthed adjacent to Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, and it’s headed for duty up the East Coast, according to a post on the Port Canaveral Facebook page. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, 21 Dec. 2021 Kodiak would remain the home port for the new ferry, which is estimated to be placed into service in early 2027. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Dec. 2021 Pedestrians who want to walk one way will have to arrange for their own transportation back to their starting point (or take a ferry, which would include a stop on Mackinac Island). Susan Glaser, cleveland, 27 Aug. 2021 Instead of cruise ships, there are only a handful of luxury yachts and a ferry heading away from Lokrum before dark, like us. Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2021 The south wing explores early aviation starting with the first flight in Texas to the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew military airplanes for training and ferry flights. Anna Mazurek, Chron, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About ferry

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

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ferry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferry. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ferry


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)

1 : ferryboat
2 : a place where persons or things are ferried

More from Merriam-Webster on ferry

Nglish: Translation of ferry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ferry for Arabic Speakers


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