ves·​sel | \ ˈve-səl How to pronounce vessel (audio) \

Definition of vessel

1a : a container (such as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup, or bowl) for holding something
b : a person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused a child of light, a true vessel of the Lord— H. J. Laski
2 : a watercraft bigger than a rowboat especially : ship sense 1
3a : a tube or canal (such as an artery) in which a body fluid is contained and conveyed or circulated
b : a conducting tube in the xylem of a vascular plant formed by the fusion and loss of end walls of a series of cells

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Synonyms for vessel


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Examples of vessel in a Sentence

a new ocean liner that claims to be the largest commercial vessel afloat any vessel that is buoyant and steerable can be entered in the annual race down the river
Recent Examples on the Web Glier's Goetta Hanky Pankies use ground beef and hot goetta as a vessel for cheesy goodness. Sarah Brookbank,, "These goetta side dishes should be mandatory at every Cincinnati holiday gathering," 27 Nov. 2019 Records show that the F/V Leonardo was a 56-foot commercial fishing vessel that was built in 1967., "Longtime fisherman, stepson among missing after boat apparently capsizes - The Boston Globe," 26 Nov. 2019 Bring a vessel for serving (even a humble Dutch oven or casserole dish can do the trick), as well as a utensil. Becky Krystal,, "Thanksgiving tips to keep everyone happy and sane at your holiday gathering," 25 Nov. 2019 Blankenship, who eventually lost in the primary, used the nickname to link McConnell to a report that 90 pounds of cocaine were discovered aboard a vessel owned by the father of McConnell’s wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Merry Mitchmas? McConnell reelection campaign releases holiday wrapping paper," 25 Nov. 2019 Celebrity Cruises: Apex The 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge, one of this year's most talked-about ships gets a sister vessel in April. Fran Golden, USA TODAY, "2020 cruise ships: Royal Caribbean, Carnival up the excitement; Virgin, Ritz-Carlton debut," 14 Nov. 2019 The Insignia Connect freezer will continue to be a viable vessel for ice cream, and the smart light switch will keep the last power schedule it was programmed to follow. Wired, "Best Buy Made These Smart Home Gadgets Dumb Again," 12 Nov. 2019 The bomb squad secured the ordnance in a containment vessel and disposed of it in a secure location. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Old military ordnance found inside home in Nassau Bay, police say," 6 Nov. 2019 In 1918, a barge-like vessel broke free from its tugboat and got lodged in the shallow rapids above Niagara Falls. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Historic Boat, Stuck Above Niagara Falls Since 1918, Finally Breaks Free," 6 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vessel.' 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 vessel

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

History and Etymology for vessel

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin vascellum, diminutive of Latin vas vase, vessel

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Time Traveler for vessel

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The first known use of vessel was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vessel

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Vessel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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How to pronounce vessel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vessel

formal : a ship or large boat
technical : a vein or artery that carries blood through the body
somewhat old-fashioned : a hollow container for holding liquids


ves·​sel | \ ˈve-səl How to pronounce vessel (audio) \

Kids Definition of vessel

1 : a craft larger than a rowboat for navigation of the water
2 : a hollow utensil (as a cup or bowl) for holding something
3 : a tube (as an artery) in which a body fluid is contained and carried or circulated


ves·​sel | \ ˈves-əl How to pronounce vessel (audio) \

Medical Definition of vessel

: a tube or canal (as an artery, vein, or lymphatic) in which a body fluid (as blood or lymph) is contained and conveyed or circulated

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