- a vessel, especially a large oceangoing one propelled by sails or engines.
- a sailing vessel square-rigged on all of three or more masts, having jibs, staysails, and a spanker on the aftermost mast.
- Now Rare.a bark having more than three masts.Compare shipentine.
- the crew and, sometimes, the passengers of a vessel: The captain gave the ship shore leave.
- an airship, airplane, or spacecraft.
- to put or take on board a ship or other means of transportation; to send or transport by ship, rail, truck, plane, etc.
- Nautical. to take in (water) over the side, as a vessel does when waves break over it.
- to bring (an object) into a ship or boat.
- to engage (someone) for service on a ship.
- to fix in a ship or boat in the proper place for use.
- to place (an oar) in proper position for rowing.Compare boat(def 10).
- to send away: They shipped the kids off to camp for the summer.
- to go on board or travel by ship; embark.
- to engage to serve on a ship.
- ship out,
- to leave, especially for another country or assignment: He said goodby to his family and shipped out for the West Indies.
- to send away, especially to another country or assignment.
- Informal.to quit, resign, or be fired from a job: Shape up or ship out!
- jump ship,
- to escape from a ship, especially one in foreign waters or a foreign port, as to avoid further service as a sailor or to request political asylum.
- to withdraw support or membership from a group, organization, cause, etc.; defect or desert: Some of the more liberal members have jumped ship.
- run a tight ship, to exercise a close, strict control over a ship's crew, a company, organization, or the like.
- when one's ship comes in/home, when one's fortune is assured: She'll buy a car as soon as her ship comes in.
Origin of ship1
- a vessel propelled by engines or sails for navigating on the water, esp a large vessel that cannot be carried aboard another, as distinguished from a boat
- nautical a large sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts
- the crew of a ship
- short for airship, spaceship
- informal any vehicle or conveyance
- when one's ship comes in when one has become successful or wealthy
- to place, transport, or travel on any conveyance, esp aboard a shipship the microscopes by aeroplane; can we ship tomorrow?
- (tr) nautical to take (water) over the side
- to bring or go aboard a vesselto ship oars
- (tr often foll by off) informal to send away, often in order to be rid ofthey shipped the children off to boarding school
- (intr) to engage to serve aboard a shipI shipped aboard a Liverpool liner
- informal (tr) to concede (a goal)Celtic have shipped eight goals in three away matches
Word Origin for ship
Old English scip "ship, boat," from Proto-Germanic *skipam (cf. Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Gothic skip, Danish skib, Swedish skepp, Middle Dutch scip, Dutch schip, Old High German skif, German Schiff), "Germanic noun of obscure origin" [Watkins]. Others suggest perhaps originally "tree cut out or hollowed out," and derive it from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."
Now a vessel of considerable size, adapted to navigation; the Old English word was used for small craft as well, and definitions changed over time; in 19c., distinct from a boat in having a bowsprit and three masts, each with a lower, top, and topgallant mast. French esquif, Italian schifo are Germanic loan-words.
Phrase ships that pass in the night is from Longfellow's poem "Elizabeth" in "Tales of a Wayside Inn" (1863). Figurative use of nautical runs a tight ship (i.e., one that does not leak) is attested from 1965.
c.1300, "to send or transport (merchandise, people) by ship; to board a ship; to travel by ship, sail, set sail," also figurative, from ship (n.). Old English scipian is attested only in the senses "take ship, embark; be furnished with a ship." Transferred to other means of conveyance (railroad, etc.) from 1857, originally American English. Related: Shipped; shipping.
In addition to the idioms beginning with ship
- ship of state
- ship out
- ships that pass in the night
- desert a sinking ship
- enough to sink a ship
- shape up (or ship out)
- tight ship
- when one's ship comes in