ship of state

noun phrase

: the affairs of a state symbolized as a ship on a course

Examples of ship of state in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Will there be a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Kremlin ship of state? Nathan Hodge, CNN, 18 Mar. 2024 Most early mentions are riffs on the metaphor of the ship of state, with entire nations beating against the breeze, or come as puns in stories about airplanes or shipping companies. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 As McCarthy’s untamed hooligans steer the ship of state toward the chop, Democrats would be wise to stick with this instinct. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 4 Nov. 2023 The United States hasn’t just lost ground; the ship of state is pointed in the wrong direction, and the rest of the world has moved on. Ben Rhodes, Foreign Affairs, 11 Aug. 2020 There is an important role to be played by the inside man who offers his counsel only in private and does his best to steer the ship of state in the right direction. The Editors, National Review, 7 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ship of state.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1615, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ship of state was in 1615

Dictionary Entries Near ship of state

Cite this Entry

“Ship of state.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

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