[ ship ]
See synonyms for: shipshippedshipping on

  1. a vessel, especially a large oceangoing one propelled by sails or engines.

  2. Nautical.

    • 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.

  1. the crew and, sometimes, the passengers of a vessel: The captain gave shore leave to the whole ship.

  2. an airship, airplane, or spacecraft.

verb (used with object),shipped, ship·ping.
  1. to put or take on board a ship or other means of transportation; to send or transport by ship, rail, truck, plane, etc.

  2. Nautical. to take in (water) over the side, as a vessel does when waves break over it.

  1. to bring (an object) into a ship or boat.

  2. to engage (someone) for service on a ship.

  3. to fix in a ship or boat in the proper place for use.

  4. to place (an oar) in proper position for rowing.: Compare boat (def. 10).

  5. to send away: They shipped the kids off to camp for the summer.

verb (used without object),shipped, ship·ping.
  1. to go on board or travel by ship; embark.

  2. to engage to serve on a ship.

    • to be sent or transported by ship, rail, truck, plane, etc.: Both packages shipped this morning.

    • to permit of being transported by any of these means:Fresh raspberries do not ship well.

Verb Phrases
  1. ship out,

    • to leave, especially for another country or assignment: He said goodbye 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!

Idioms about ship

  1. 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.

  2. run a tight ship, to exercise a close, strict control over a ship's crew, a company, an organization, or the like.

  1. when one's ship comes in / home, when one's fortune is assured: She'll buy a house when her ship comes in.

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

Other words from ship

  • ship·less, adjective
  • ship·less·ly, adverb
  • mis·ship, verb, mis·shipped, mis·ship·ping.
  • pre·ship, verb (used with object), pre·shipped, pre·ship·ping.

Words that may be confused with ship

Words Nearby ship

Other definitions for ship (2 of 3)

[ ship ]

  1. 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.
  1. 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)


  1. 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use ship in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ship (1 of 2)


/ (ʃɪp) /

  1. 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

  2. nautical a large sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts

  1. the crew of a ship

  2. short for airship, spaceship

  3. informal any vehicle or conveyance

  4. when one's ship comes in when one has become successful or wealthy

verbships, shipping or shipped
  1. to place, transport, or travel on any conveyance, esp aboard a ship: ship the microscopes by aeroplane; can we ship tomorrow?

  2. (tr) nautical to take (water) over the side

  1. to bring or go aboard a vessel: to ship oars

  2. (tr often foll by off) informal to send away, often in order to be rid of: they shipped the children off to boarding school

  3. (intr) to engage to serve aboard a ship: I shipped aboard a Liverpool liner

  4. informal (tr) to concede (a goal): Celtic have shipped eight goals in three away matches

Origin of ship

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

Derived forms of ship

  • shippable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for -ship (2 of 2)


suffix forming nouns
  1. indicating state or condition: fellowship

  2. indicating rank, office, or position: lordship

  1. indicating craft or skill: horsemanship; workmanship; scholarship

Origin of -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


In addition to the idioms beginning with ship

  • ship of state
  • ship out
  • ships that pass in the night

also see:

  • desert a sinking ship
  • enough to sink a ship
  • shape up (or ship out)
  • tight ship
  • when one's ship comes in

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