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)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the Cincinnati Reds started to right the ship over the last week and won six out of their last eight games entering Saturday night, Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson was the Reds’ best player. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 15 May 2022 Celebrity Beyond, the newest Edge Class ship for Celebrity Cruises. Ramsey Qubein, Forbes, 15 May 2022 The cash, however, is a one-time fix designed to right the ship during the pandemic. Detroit Free Press, 13 May 2022 The littoral combat ship fleet consists of two classes, the Independence and Freedom classes. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2022 The Vsevolod Bobrov logistics ship was badly damaged but not thought to have sunk when it was struck while trying to deliver an anti-aircraft system to Snake Island, said Oleksiy Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential adviser. Oleksandr Stashevskyi And Kavid Keyton, Anchorage Daily News, 13 May 2022 Italy brought charges against German national Carola Rackete, captain of the Sea Watch rescue ship, but eventually dropped them. Eleanor Paynter, The Conversation, 13 May 2022 He was banished on the next Dutch ship out of Japan. Rob Goss, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2022 Combined Plimoth Patuxet and Mayflower ticket for museum and ship tour from $39.95 per adult, $36 per senior 62 and up and $24.95 per child 5 to 12. Rachel Walker, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The state will begin to license companies that ship alcohol by mail, taxing those businesses for the first time. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 16 May 2022 Navigating a sport that can ship you from one continent to another while keeping bank accounts healthy caused Tomas Aoake and his rugby-playing partner, Grace, to become creative. Bryce Millercolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 May 2022 Boyd, of Ann Arbor, partnered with an online nursery company and has a network of 40 growers that will ship to customers' homes. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, 13 Apr. 2022 The sports merchandise company Fanatics plans to open a 550,000-square-foot distribution center in Harford County employing 135 people that will ship jerseys and other gear direct to consumers. Giacomo Bologna, Baltimore Sun, 29 Mar. 2022 Most of them offer nationwide shipping options, and some even ship internationally. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 3 May 2022 However, the first units are expected to ship in 11 to 12 weeks. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 28 Apr. 2022 At the time, FedEx (back then, it was called Federal Express) offered overnight deliveries, but the cost to ship a package the size of a piece of luggage was very expensive. Shep Hyken, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 The tabloid Bild reported last week that Mr. Scholz had excluded such weapons from a proposal for German manufacturers to ship new arms directly to Ukraine at Berlin’s expense. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ship

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ship


\ 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


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!