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See also: -ship



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English ship, schip, from Old English scip, from Proto-Germanic *skipą, from Proto-Indo-European *skēi-b-, *ski-b-.

Alternative formsEdit



ship (plural ships)

A ship (senses 1 and 3).
  1. A water-borne vessel generally larger than a boat.
  2. (chiefly in combination) A vessel which travels through any medium other than across land, such as an airship or spaceship.
  3. (archaic, nautical, formal) A sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts.
  4. A dish or utensil (originally fashioned like the hull of a ship) used to hold incense.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Tyndale to this entry?)
Usage notesEdit
  • The singular form ship is sometimes used without any article, producing such sentences as "In all, we spent three weeks aboard ship." and "Abandon ship!". (Similar patterns may be seen with many place nouns, such as camp, home, work, and school, but the details vary between them.)
  • Ships are traditionally regarded as feminine and the pronouns her and she are normally used instead of it.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit


ship (third-person singular simple present ships, present participle shipping, simple past and past participle shipped)

  1. (transitive) To send by water-borne transport.
    • Richard Knolles (1545-1610)
      The timber was [] shipped in the bay of Attalia, from whence it was by sea transported to Pelusium.
    • 2014 June 14, “It's a gas”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8891:
      One of the hidden glories of Victorian engineering is proper drains. Isolating a city’s effluent and shipping it away in underground sewers has probably saved more lives than any medical procedure except vaccination.
  2. (transitive) To send (a parcel or container) to a recipient (by any means of transport).
    to ship freight by railroad
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To release a product to vendors; to launch.
    Our next issue ships early next year.
    The developers had to ship the game two weeks late.
  4. (transitive, intransitive) To engage to serve on board a vessel.
    to ship seamen;  I shipped on a man-of-war.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, chapter 19
      With finger pointed and eye levelled at the Pequod, the beggar-like stranger stood a moment, as if in a troubled reverie; then starting a little, turned and said:—“Ye’ve shipped, have ye? Names down on the papers? Well, well, what’s signed, is signed; and what’s to be, will be; []
  5. (intransitive) To embark on a ship.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wyclif (Acts xxviii. 11) to this entry?)
  6. (transitive, nautical) To put in its place.
    to ship the tiller or rudder
  7. (transitive) To take in (water) over the sides of a vessel.
    We were shipping so much water I was sure we would capsize.
  8. (transitive) To pass (from one person to another).
    Can you ship me the ketchup?
    • 2011 September 18, Ben Dirs, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 41-10 Georgia”, in BBC Sport:
      And when scrum-half Ben Youngs, who had a poor game, was burgled by opposite number Irakli Abuseridze and the ball shipped down the line to Irakli Machkhaneli, it looked like Georgia had scored a try of their own, but the winger's foot was in touch.
  9. (poker slang, transitive, intransitive) To go all in.
  10. (sports) To trade or send a player to another team.
    Twins ship Delmon Young to Tigers.
  11. (rugby) To bungle a kick and give the opposing team possession.
    • 2011 October 1, Tom Fordyce, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 16-12 Scotland”, in BBC Sport:
      England were shipping penalties at an alarming rate - five in the first 15 minutes alone - and with Wilkinson missing three long-distance pots of his own in the first 20 minutes, the alarm bells began to ring for Martin Johnson's men.
    • 2015 February 11, “Six Nations: Scotland raw but capable of improving”, in The Scotsman:
      They shipped penalties, lost field position, and in the second-half, having retreated to the changing room buoyed by Dougie Fife’s well-worked try, found themselves ceding two-thirds of the territory and with it, the lion’s share of the ball.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From relationship.


ship (plural ships)

  1. (fandom slang) A fictional romantic relationship between two characters, either real or themselves fictional.


ship (third-person singular simple present ships, present participle shipping, simple past and past participle shipped)

  1. (fandom slang) To support or approve of a fictional romantic relationship between two characters, either real or themselves fictional, typically in fan fiction.
    I ship Kirk and Spock in Star Trek.
    I ship Peggy and Angie in "Marvel's Agent Carter".
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit


Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: ex · mere · agreement · #690: ship · third · evil · outside

Further readingEdit


Middle EnglishEdit


ship (plural shipes or ships)

  1. Alternative form of schip