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


verb (1)
shipped; shipping; ships

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


verb (2)
shipped; shipping; ships

Definition of ship (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to wishfully regard (specific people or fictional characters) as being or having the potential to become romantically involved with one another 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


noun suffix

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

Other Words from ship

Verb (1)

shippable \ ˈshi-​pə-​bəl How to pronounce -ship (audio) \ adjective

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 Jeff Crouthamel can never forget the time his father was asked to deliver a wriggling cow to a ship docked in San Pedro Harbor. Los Angeles Times, 14 Jan. 2022 Founder Lorenzo Burke was the fearless captain of our ship. John Rasmus, Outside Online, 11 Jan. 2022 Four AAVs didn’t attempt the return trip to the ship. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Jan. 2022 That was an apparent reference to a ship that was supposed to dock at Puerto Vallarta a few days ago but was not allowed to do so. NBC News, 29 Dec. 2021 But the brand has plenty of luxe rings ready-to-ship, including wedding bands and statement rings. Rachel King, Fortune, 28 Nov. 2021 The company doesn’t always try to beat rivals, particularly on items such as large packages of toilet paper that can be more costly to ship. Jay Greene, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Nov. 2021 The company doesn’t always try to beat rivals, particularly on items such as large packages of toilet paper that can be more costly to ship. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2021 With fewer vehicles available to ship, revenues were also down. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 28 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Biden administration has stepped up its efforts to make tests more broadly available and affordable, requiring insurer reimbursement for tests, invoking the Defense Production Act and announcing plans to ship 500 million tests to Americans. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2022 The price to ship a 40-foot container from Asia to the US West coast hit $14,572 this week, down slightly from a peak of more than $20,000 in September, but still nearly a tenfold increase from two years ago, according to data from Freightos Group., 12 Jan. 2022 The Washington Post reported Thursday that the administration and the U.S. Postal Service are finalizing plans to ship tests to households as soon as next week. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 8 Jan. 2022 The Trump administration had plans to ship 650 million reusable cloth masks to every U.S. household as early as April 2020, when the country was recording fewer than 30,000 new cases per day. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 Biden said last month that the administration plans to ship as many as 500 million free test kits to people who request them through a website — a plan experts have said will require significant scaling up. NBC News, 5 Jan. 2022 Grossman Iron has access to the Mississippi River, allowing Nucor to ship scrap to its mills in the region by river barge, including a mill under construction along the Ohio River in Brandenburg, Ky. Bob Tita, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2022 Legislators approved bills to allow retailers, restaurants, and manufacturers to deliver beer, wine, and spirits directly to customers’ homes and to allow winemakers to ship directly to customers. Mike Cason |, al, 29 Dec. 2021 There is an alternative: Allow the manufacturers of tests being used in other countries ship their tests to the US. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 23 Dec. 2021

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

Learn More About ship

Time Traveler for ship

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ship

shiny willow



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Statistics for ship

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for ship



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


noun suffix

English Language Learners Definition of -ship (Entry 4 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


noun suffix
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on ship

Nglish: Translation of ship for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ship for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ship


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