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 The family lives in the seemingly rural, fictional town of Lone Moose, which is surrounded by tall peaks and lies near the ocean, where Beef operates his fishing vessel. Samantha Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska is the setting of ‘The Great North,’ a new animated comedy from Fox," 12 Jan. 2021 In another instance, Iran seized a British-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero, just two weeks after its own vessel was impounded by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar. Washington Post, "Iran denies its seizure of South Korean tanker is hostage-taking, complains of money owed," 5 Jan. 2021 The agents also placed their vessel and dredge under a seizure order. Halle Parker | Staff Writer,, "Agents using drone nab two Port Sulphur men harvesting oysters in polluted waters," 30 Dec. 2020 The souffle batter should fill most of your vessel, leaving about 1 inch of space below the lip. Christian Reynoso,, "This bright seafood souffle is a celebratory meal to raise spirits for New Year’s," 29 Dec. 2020 Lizzo’s body is not just the actual flesh and bone and spirit that is her pop stardom vessel. Tressie Mcmillan Cottom, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lizzo, “Body Positivity,” and the Impossible Expectations for Black Women’s Bodies," 17 Dec. 2020 Her spirit courses through the film, finding its most obvious vessel in the character of Paul (Will Patton), a fervent Pentecostal who helps with the farm. Glenn Whipp Entertainment Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Review: After an exhausting 2020, the gentle ‘Minari’ is the movie we need right now," 10 Dec. 2020 Water trucks for livestock are also offered at some sites but residents should bring their own vessel for transporting water. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDG&E opens 10 resource centers for customers without power," 3 Dec. 2020 Bee removed his shirt, stood on top of his vessel, and waved his shirt for about 45 minutes to capture the crew’s attention. Joe Mario Pedersen,, "Central Florida man tells story of clutching to capsized boat before rescue: report," 2 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

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vessel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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