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 Percy Dardar III, 37, from Pointe-aux-Chenes launched his vessel from a boat ramp around 3 p.m. Sunday to look for oysters, authorities said. Carlie Wells,, "Coast Guard searching for missing man, overdue vessel near Lake Felicity," 8 Feb. 2021 Almost half of those who died, 1,177, were killed on one vessel, the U.S.S. Arizona. Carrie Napoleon,, "‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ resonates with veterans, citizens 79 years later at Highland event," 7 Dec. 2020 The $295 million ex-vessel value for the harvest was less than half of last year’s value of $673.4 million, when more than 208 million salmon were harvested. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Converging forces make for worst Upper Cook Inlet commercial salmon season in decades," 12 Nov. 2020 That’s a sharp contrast from 3 years ago, when the terminal was loading one vessel every 17 hours. Lucia Kassai,, "Latest Sign of Venezuela’s Oil Collapse Is 84% Surge in Stockpiles," 23 Oct. 2020 The collision threw three people, a father and two children, off one vessel and into the water. Salma Reyes, The Arizona Republic, "11-year-old from Chandler dies after boating crash in Utah," 8 Oct. 2020 Only one vessel in the fleet, a French ship called the Grifón, escaped the storm intact. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Florida Treasure Hunters Unearth Trove of Silver Coins From 18th-Century Shipwreck," 3 Mar. 2020 The trade is essential to the economy, with longshore workers serving as a crucial link between moving goods from a shipping vessel onto trucks and trains that send them to their final destination, experts said. New York Times, "‘Very High Risk’: Longshoremen Want Protection From the Virus So They Can Stay on the Job," 12 Dec. 2020 Virgin Voyages has moved the launch of its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, to May 9, 2021 – more than a year after the vessel's launch was originally scheduled the line announced Wednesday. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: Virgin Voyages cancels cruises on its first ship into May, more than a year past launch date," 10 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for vessel

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vessel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for vessel



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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