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

Synonyms for vessel


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Another fisherman trolling near the incident described seeing the vessel erupt in flames to FOX13 Seattle. Fox News, 20 June 2022 Take a chair lift—a skimpy open-air vessel that sits one person per lift—from Anacapri, around the corner from the Jumeirah Capri Palace, which will transport you to the incredible views and an old 19th-century fort and gardens. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 17 June 2022 The Gloucester first launched as a 50-gun warship in 1654, becoming a Royal Navy vessel in 1660. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 17 June 2022 And the ship is a highlight in itself, a former survey vessel for the British navy that has been converted into a luxe yacht for a maximum of 30. Sue Bryant, Town & Country, 17 June 2022 Enter Green, a vessel of positivity who has been at his job at Capital Prep for a year. Ted Glanzer, Hartford Courant, 16 June 2022 And for their latest collaboration, the ultra-aged scotch gets a truly unique vessel. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 14 June 2022 SpaceX has said that Starship, which consists of a vessel that goes by that name and the towering Super Heavy booster, would be the most powerful launch vehicle ever created. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, 13 June 2022 The mother had received assistance from a nearby fishing vessel and managed to get her daughter onto the boat, but could not hoist herself up. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 13 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best water bottles.

Learn More About vessel

Time Traveler for vessel

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near vessel



vessel element

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vessel

Last Updated

22 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vessel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for vessel


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

More from Merriam-Webster on vessel

Nglish: Translation of vessel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vessel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about vessel


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!