noun, often attributive
\ ˈship How to pronounce ship (audio) \

Definition of ship

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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


shipped; shipping

Definition of ship (Entry 2 of 3)

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

Definition of -ship (Entry 3 of 3)

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


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for ship

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of ship in a Sentence

Noun the captain of the ship He will travel by ship. Verb 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 After crashing through 12-foot waves and nearly 200 nautical miles of ice floes, the two ships drew close to one of China’s stations, called Zhongshan, on Antarctica’s eastern rim (they are pictured, led by Xue Long 2). The Economist, "The voyage of two icebreakers have been creating headlines in China," 28 Nov. 2019 The deal: Perks including free drinks, Wi-Fi and gratuities on week-long Caribbean cruises booked on four ships. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Black Friday, Cyber Monday travel deals: Flights, cruises, hotels, more sales for your next trip," 27 Nov. 2019 The Coast Guard has two ships and a helicopter searching for the fishermen, who were not immediately identified. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, "One fisherman rescued, 3 missing after boat sinks off Martha's Vineyard," 25 Nov. 2019 After two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, causing the blast, Boston quickly responded by sending medical personnel and supplies., "Boston’s official Christmas tree arrives from Nova Scotia - The Boston Globe," 20 Nov. 2019 Al-Masirah did not report on the origin of the other two ships. Ruba Alhenawi, Hande Atay Alam And Ryan Browne, CNN, "Yemen's Houthi rebels seize Saudi Arabian ship in Red Sea," 19 Nov. 2019 The final 21 belugas were released from two ships on Sunday, according to the AFP. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Russia Frees Last Belugas from Notorious ‘Whale Jail’," 13 Nov. 2019 The artist, Molly Alloy, pasted words and a dotted arrow to connect the three colonial ships printed outside the 1670′s future home to slavery. oregonlive, "Portland building removes chocolate shop signage after artist links branding to slave trade," 12 Nov. 2019 Salvini immediately closed Italian ports to search and rescue ships. Jasmine Aguilera/ajo, Time, "They Tried to Save the Lives of Immigrants Fleeing Danger. Now They’re Facing Prosecution," 11 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There is still plenty of fentanyl in the United States that was shipped from China before the new law took effect. Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, "China Cracks Down on Fentanyl. But Is It Enough to End the U.S. Epidemic?," 1 Dec. 2019 In Dallas the florist Rusty Glenn once decorated a three-story stairwell with 7,150 stems of white Dendrobium orchids shipped from Thailand, several hundred red amaryllis blossoms, and fresh greenery. Mike Albo, Town & Country, "How Holiday Decorations Became the Elite's New Competitive Sport," 25 Nov. 2019 The warrant was executed after officials launched a two-week investigation into Parisi, 31, after Homeland Security became aware of a package — believed to be containing ecstasy — that was shipped from the Netherlands to a home on Kingston Drive. Robyn Merrett,, "Former Shark Tank Contestant Arrested with $80,000 Worth of Drugs on Him, Police Claim," 25 Nov. 2019 Sooner or later, consumers are bound to see price increases on goods shipped from China. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Chicago Tribune: A Midwest plea to Trump: Do the China trade deal," 21 Nov. 2019 More than 200 butterflies dangled on threads hanging from a rack outside the house, and countless others were packed in a cardboard box that was shipped from Kentucky. Alejandro Serrano,, "As thousands of children are held at U.S. border, two East Bay girls are taking artistic action," 13 Nov. 2019 Ochoa-Beltran's organization obtained drugs in various ways, including via packages that were shipped from California to Indiana. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Leader of group that distributed drugs in Indianapolis gets 30 years in prison, feds say," 30 Oct. 2019 With funding from a friend and investor in Argentina, Ernesto arranged for a dozen shiny new Harleys to be shipped from the U.S. factory to Cuba via Panama. Lisette Poole, Smithsonian, "Roaring Through Cuba With Che Guevara’s Son," 24 Oct. 2019 Fresh produce shipped from all around the world is for sale. The Economist, "Greta Thunberg accuses rich countries of “creative carbon accounting”," 17 Oct. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for ship


Middle English, from Old English scip; akin to Old High German skif ship

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

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ship.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for ship


How to pronounce -ship (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ship

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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 3)

: to send (something) to a customer
: to send (a new product) to stores so that it can be bought by customers
: to send (someone) to a place that is usually far away

English Language Learners Definition of -ship (Entry 3 of 3)

: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on ship

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ship

Spanish Central: Translation of ship

Nglish: Translation of ship for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on ship

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