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Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Idioms about ship

Origin of ship

First recorded before 900; Middle English, Old English noun scip, scipp; cognate with Dutch schip, German Schiff, Old Norse, Gothic skip; verb derivative of the noun


ship·less, adjectiveship·less·ly, adverbmis·ship, verb, mis·shipped, mis·ship·ping.pre·ship, verb (used with object), pre·shipped, pre·ship·ping.


barge, boat, canoe, cruise ship, sailboat, ship , yacht

Other definitions for ship (2 of 3)

[ ship ]
/ ʃɪp /

a romantic relationship between fictional characters, as in fan fiction, or between famous people, whether or not the romance actually exists in the book, show, etc., or in real life:the TV show's most popular ships.
verb (used with or without object), shipped, ship·ping.
to take an interest in or hope for a romantic relationship between (fictional characters or famous people), whether or not the romance actually exists: I'm shipping those guys—they would make a great couple!

Origin of ship

First recorded in 1995–2000; shortening of relationship

Other definitions for ship (3 of 3)


a native English suffix of nouns denoting condition, character, office, skill, etc.: clerkship; friendship; statesmanship.

Origin of -ship

Middle English, Old English -scipe; akin to shape; cognate with dialectal Frisian, dialectal Dutch schip
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -ship mean?

The suffixship is used to form nouns to indicate a “state of being” or “skill.” It is often used in everyday and technical terms.

The suffix –ship comes from Old English –scipe, meaning “shape.” Yes, shape. Discover why at our entry for shape. The Latin-derived equivalent of –scipe is –form, from Latin –fōrmis, meaning “having the shape of.” This suffix appears in words such as fungiform and oviform. To learn more, check out our Words That Use article on form.

Examples of -ship

An example of a word you may have encountered that features –ship is scholarship, “learning; knowledge acquired by study.”

The scholar part of the word means “student” or “learned person.” As we have seen, –ship means “state of being” or “skill.” Scholarship literally means “the state of being a student” or “skill of learning.”

What are some words that use the equivalent of the combining form –ship in Old or Middle English?

What are some other forms that –ship may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that ends with the exact letters –ship, such as transship, is necessarily using the combining form –ship to denote “state of being.” Learn why transship means “to transfer” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Given the meaning of the suffix –ship, what does friendship literally mean?

British Dictionary definitions for ship (1 of 2)

/ (ʃɪp) /

verb ships, shipping or shipped
See also ship out

Derived forms of ship

shippable, adjective

Word Origin for ship

Old English scip; related to Old Norse skip, Old High German skif ship, scipfī cup

British Dictionary definitions for ship (2 of 2)


suffix forming nouns
indicating state or conditionfellowship
indicating rank, office, or positionlordship
indicating craft or skillhorsemanship; workmanship; scholarship

Word Origin for -ship

Old English -scipe; compare shape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with ship


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.