fer·​ry·​man | \ ˈfer-ē-mən How to pronounce ferryman (audio) , ˈfe-rē- \

Definition of ferryman

: a person who operates a ferry

Examples of ferryman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His father, also a ferryman among other things, was James Cook Bourland. Tom Dillard, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | TOM DILLARD: Neither love triangles nor murder anything new in the news," 21 Dec. 2020 The beach, a scintillating embodiment of the California Dream just a couple of hours earlier, now looked more like the landing pad for Charon, the mythological ferryman of Hades, with wisps of yellow smoke hovering above leaden waves and pebbles. Anastasia Edel, The New York Review of Books, "The Big Smoke," 17 Sep. 2020 Popular lore suggests the dead needed these tokens to pay Charon, the ferryman who transports souls across the River Styx, for safe passage. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Archaeologists Unearth 16th-Century Children’s Cemetery in Poland," 1 July 2020 The ship docked at the pier and the ferryman lowered the ramp. Yi-ling Liu, Harper's Magazine, "Dream State," 31 Aug. 2019 The narrator spends much of her time with an old man, a former ferryman who lives on a boat that now registers to them only as an unusable object. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "How “The Memory Police” Makes You See," 6 Nov. 2019 In another, a Nordic ferryman, restlessly nostalgic for his youth as a sailor, steers his vessel full of commuters toward the open sea. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Pilgrim Without a Map," 9 Aug. 2018 Politics are tangled up with love and passion in this drama, whose title refers to the Aeneid’s Charon, the ferryman who conveys souls to the land of the dead. Toby Zinman, Philly.com, "London Theater: 'The Ferryman' at the Royal Court, London: Delicious accents, hard truths, engaging cast," 6 May 2018 Many cultures in antiquity have buried their dead with coins as a way to pay a mythical ferryman to take their souls into the afterlife. New York Times, "The Baby’s Hand Was Mummified. Why Wasn’t the Rest of Its Body?," 18 May 2018

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

12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for ferryman

Time Traveler

The first known use of ferryman was in the 12th century

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Statistics for ferryman

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ferryman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferryman. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of ferryman

: a person (especially a man) who operates a ferry

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