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 This vessel is a motor yacht, 64 feet long, 89 years old, and built of teak. Carl Nolte,, "Classic yacht may be Folly, but ‘it’s the kind of boat you can fall in love with’," 29 Aug. 2020 The fuel tank on the other vessel, the USS New Orleans, ruptured and spilled 25,000 gallons. Stephen Singer,, "In competition with public shipyards for repair work, Electric Boat wins $126 million Navy maintenance contract," 24 Aug. 2020 Six other workers on the vessel were hospitalized following the Friday morning blast, which sent flames shooting hundreds of feet in the air. Dan Molinski, WSJ, "Two Dead, Two Still Missing After Pipeline Explosion at Texas Port," 22 Aug. 2020 Oliver, who also volunteers as a shore crew member with the Galway RNLI, and his son joined the search on Thursday morning and set out on the fishing vessel, the Johnny O. Gabrielle Chung,, "Father-Son Fishermen Rescue 2 Paddleboarders Who Were Missing at Sea for 15 Hours," 14 Aug. 2020 The initial investigation shows James Dewayne Morgan, 39, was the only person aboard the vessel at the time of the incident. Carol Robinson |, al, "Man dies after falling off boat on Smith Lake," 10 Aug. 2020 Those aboard the vessel were migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, confirmed U.N. Refugee Agency Africa spokesman Charlie Yaxley. Carley Petesch, Star Tribune, "Dozens feared dead after boat capsizes off Mauritania coast," 6 Aug. 2020 Josey, Rivera's 4-year-old son, was found asleep on the floating vessel when the pontoon boat wasn't returned to the rental company on time. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "'Glee' star Naya Rivera is laid to rest in a Hollywood Hills cemetery," 30 July 2020 Jackson didn't know where on the 840-foot amphibious assault vessel the fire was sparked. Fox News, "Fire breaks out on USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego, 1 treated for smoke inhalation," 13 July 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

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vessel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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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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