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


noun suffix

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

boat, keel, vessel

Synonyms: Verb

consign, dispatch, pack (off), send, shoot, transfer, transmit, transport

Antonyms: Verb

accept, receive

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Examples of ship in a Sentence


the captain of the ship He will travel by ship.


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 flames were extinguished, but the huge ship was listing at nearly 90 degrees. Time, "Coast Guard Finds 4 Crew Members Trapped Inside Capsized Cargo Ship in Georgia," 9 Sep. 2019 The ship was in the Bahamas on Thursday and Friday with nearly 300 first responders, 850 boxed lunches and a total of 225,000 pounds of supplies, including food and water, the line stated. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "Over 1,000 Bahamas residents evacuated after Dorian as food, supplies are brought in," 7 Sep. 2019 Back on board the ship, Patrick Lahey, the president of Triton, felt crushed. The Economist, "The last of the great explorers," 6 Sep. 2019 The team’s discovery of Morison’s ship, the Speedwell, led to a new addition in the TransAtlantic Slave Trade Database. Amanda Blanco,, "A new project reveals the hidden history of colonial people of color who are buried in downtown Hartford," 6 Sep. 2019 The same problems that lead to house fires every day can also sink ships: kitchen fires, unextinguished cigarette butts and gas leaks. Washington Post, "Burning boat takes clues of fatal fire down to watery grave," 4 Sep. 2019 But due to the port closure in Jacksonville, Carnival's website says the ship may not be able to dock as planned. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Dorian: Cruiser calls customer service 'disappointing,' others happy for extensions," 4 Sep. 2019 In 10 years, Minter steadied a reeling ship (53 wins, four bowl appearances) and made the job attractive enough, a guy like Dantonio would take it. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Predicting the Bengals' win total and wondering if UC can beat OSU," 3 Sep. 2019 Silent Yachts says this ship is an improvement on its last model, released in 2018. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Solar-Powered Yacht? Solar-Powered Yacht.," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The traffic delays could be particularly painful for shipping firms such as FedEx and United Parcel Service, which both operate large hubs on the island. oregonlive, "Swan Island traffic could be backed up for months after train slams into vital Going Street bridge," 9 Sep. 2019 The Transportation Institute conducted the study by examining conditions in 494 urban areas, with research support from INRIX, a provider of travel-time information for travelers and shipping companies. Mary Wisniewski,, "Study finds ‘rush hour’ term out-of-date because traffic’s now bad all the time. Gridlock costs Chicagoans 3 days per year.," 22 Aug. 2019 Using shipping floor staff to do PR work is in line with that mission. Dustin Kurtz, The New Republic, "Why Amazon’s Twitter Ambassadors Are So Sad," 16 Aug. 2019 The Benioff Ocean Initiative plans on providing direct updates to shipping companies on the level of risk to whales in the channel. Los Angeles Times, "In the Santa Barbara Channel, an underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart," 16 Aug. 2019 Tradesy, founded in 2012, is a peer-to-peer market too, but offers some assistance to sellers, helping them make photos presentable and sending them shipping kits. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "There’s never been a better time—or more need—to buy your clothes used," 16 Aug. 2019 Government officials are considering providing funding to small and medium-size banana exporters to help them implement better biosecurity measures, such as disinfecting machinery, shipping containers, and footwear in quarantined areas. Sabine Galvis, Science | AAAS, "Colombia confirms that dreaded fungus has hit its banana plantations," 12 Aug. 2019 In 2018, the Canadian government instituted a new regime of fishing zone closures, shipping lane changes, and vessel speed restrictions. Nick Hawkins, National Geographic, "6 recent deaths push rare whales closer to extinction," 11 July 2019 As the threats to shipping mount, America wants to set up a coalition to escort vessels in both the Gulf and the Bab al-Mandab, a narrow passage off the west coast of Saudi Arabia that leads to the Suez Canal. The Economist, "A British warship stops Iran seizing an oil tanker," 11 July 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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More Definitions for ship



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


noun suffix

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


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ship

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

What made you want to look up ship? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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