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

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
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

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 telescopes of Galileo’s age had tiny fields of view, and finding and tracking things that are at least 365 million miles away was virtually impossible on a ship bouncing along the waves. Alex Davies, Wired, "The Autonomous-Car Chaos of the 2004 Darpa Grand Challenge," 6 Jan. 2021 In 1945, after the war, the Youngs sailed to San Francisco on a troop ship but soon moved to New York, where Ms. Young’s mother knew more people. New York Times, "Shirley Young, Businesswoman and Cultural Diplomat to China, Dies at 85," 3 Jan. 2021 But a filmmaker or writer might shift perspective to the people on the ship, to enable the viewer to see, close up, the human impact of the action. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "Shigeru Miyamoto Wants to Create a Kinder World," 20 Dec. 2020 While the idea of treasure is tantalizing, Sottile turns to another mystery: Who were the men on this ship? Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2020: Arts and Culture," 16 Dec. 2020 Once upon a time, in the spring of 1911, a 14-year-old boy embarked on the ship Madonna from Naples, Italy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How my father pursued the American Dream," 13 Dec. 2020 But there are one or two imposters in your midst who are trying to go around and assassinate everybody on the ship. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Long-distance activities for families, friends to try during socially-distanced holiday season," 12 Dec. 2020 There’s a low-energy mystery about another character on the ship who proves to be both crucial and extraneous at the same time, a neat trick. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Cast headed by Meryl Streep makes ‘Let Them All Talk’ a winner," 11 Dec. 2020 Now streaming on HBO Max, this is fairly low-stakes stuff, although its script — credited to Deborah Eisenberg but apparently improvised by the cast in two actual weeks on the ship — introduces small conflicts to keep the boat/movie chugging along. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "Meryl Streep leads a deft cast in the improvised comedy 'Let Them All Talk'," 10 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Latex mattresses are ready to ship in two to three days. oregonlive, "Best January sales: Curl up in comfort with these deals on cozy furnishings, bedding, clothes and boots," 5 Jan. 2021 The Alabama Crimson Tide Top of the World 2020 SEC Football Champions Locker Room T-Shirt, available in black, is ready to ship and is listed for $24.99. Mark Heim |, al, "Alabama fans, here’s how to get your Rose Bowl, CFP championship-bound gear," 5 Jan. 2021 The remaining regolith was now locked in and ready to ship to Earth. Chris Wright, Wired, "How NASA Scrambled to Save OSIRIS-REx From Leaky Disaster," 16 Dec. 2020 The federal government is using contractors to ship Moderna’s vaccine, while Pfizer is being distributed by the drugmaker itself. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "First Covid-19 Vaccine Given to U.S. Public," 15 Dec. 2020 Israel expects 100,000 initial doses as part of a pilot program to help the country sort out how to store and ship a vaccine that must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit and must and used within five days of removal from cold storage. Emily Rauhala, Washington Post, "The White House declined to buy more of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Here’s where it could go instead.," 8 Dec. 2020 Warp Speed also allows Pfizer logistical help, although the company will directly ship its own vaccine, while the government will control shipping of other COVID-19 vaccines. Hope Yen, Star Tribune, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump's bogus claims about Biden win, vaccine," 15 Nov. 2020 Warp Speed also allows Pfizer logistical help, although the company will directly ship its own vaccine, while the government will control shipping of other COVID-19 vaccines. Hope Yen,, "Fact-checking Trump’s distortions and outright lies about the 2020 election and COVID-19 vaccine," 14 Nov. 2020 When an order comes in, McKesson will ship it directly to the medical facility that ordered it, said Moore. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "'Mind-bogglingly complex': Here's what we know about how COVID vaccine will be distributed when it's approved," 7 Sep. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ship


How to pronounce -ship (audio)

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

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
\ 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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Comments on ship

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