There are 2 main definitions of ship in English:


Syllabification: ship
Pronunciation: /SHip


1A vessel larger than a boat for transporting people or goods by sea.
More example sentences
  • Returning to Metro had taken him several months of stowing away on cargo ships and transports before finally reaching the city.
  • There was every kind from little boats to huge cargo ships, from dilapidated sailboats to magnificent barges.
  • The first two ships to set sail are just days away from British waters.
1.1A sailing vessel with a bowsprit and three or more square-rigged masts.
More example sentences
  • In the early years of sailing ships, the European ships had a square sail design.
  • It was fantastic to see all the ships sails at full mast, it looked like some 18th century sea battle.
  • She found herself laying on the broken mast of the ship, with white sails and splinters of wood floating lazily around her.
1.2 informal Any boat, especially a racing boat.
More example sentences
  • With a beam of 106 ft, the ships are the largest vessels that can fit through the Panama Canal.
  • Luxury vessels and midsize ships sail from Vancouver, BC and Seattle.
  • The air was thick with the smell of the ocean, sailors beginning to untie their ships for mornings of sailing and fishing.
1.3A spaceship.
More example sentences
  • Fighters will be launched and recovered from space stations and ships.
  • It believes that a circular spaceship carrying 1,500 smaller ships filled with bombs will at some indeterminate point destroy both Britain and America.
  • Fighters kept their gravity well below Earth norm, the standard gravity found on ships and space stations.
1.4North American An aircraft.
More example sentences
  • Clearly, the aircraft was one hot ship and it started piling up victories until tragedy struck at the 1937 Cleveland event.

verb (ships, shipping, shipped)

[with object] Back to top  
1Transport (goods or people) on a ship: the wounded soldiers were shipped home
More example sentences
  • Of course, we'll cut their benefits, combat pay and make it difficult to ship their goods home from their overseas postings.
  • Trade goods were shipped from French Atlantic ports to Quebec, then to Montreal, to be sold to small companies of traders licensed to deal with Native suppliers in the interior.
  • If all else fails, the mafia hijack transports of cigarettes and alcohol and then ship the stolen goods into Britain.
1.1Send by some other means of transport or by mail: the freight would be shipped by rail spare parts were quickly shipped out his papers have already been shipped to the University of Kansas
More example sentences
  • The construction company is shipping the goods to the town and is asking its customers to help with the appeal for goods and building materials.
  • When we speak of trade, we usually think of goods being shipped across borders.
  • For the same reasons, many U.S. online merchants, particularly smaller companies, do not currently ship goods to Canada.
1.2 [no object] (Of a product) be made available for purchase: the cellular phone is expected to ship at about $500 sometime this summer
More example sentences
  • Support for IP is expected to be added some time after the product ships later this year.
  • Expect more to be revealed when the product ships in Japan in July.
  • Instead of companies being tied to the MySQL General Public License the product will ship under a commercial license.
1.3 [no object] (ship out) (Of a naval force) go to sea from a home port: Bob got sick a week before we shipped out
More example sentences
  • There was a time when young men from small towns in Texas were forced to ship out to New York or Hollywood in order to fulfill their dream of seeing themselves on the big screen.
  • Whatever one believes, the accident has left deep anxiety among sailors who have just graduated from naval training and are about to ship out.
  • For troops who have just returned from overseas or for those about to ship out, the USO is a valuable source of help and support.
1.4 [no object] dated Embark on a ship: people wishing to get from London to New York ship at Liverpool
1.5 [no object] (Of a sailor) serve on a ship: Jack, you shipped with the Admiral once, didn’t you?
2(Of a boat) take in (water) over the side.
More example sentences
  • He told me afterwards the yacht was believed to be shipping water and the fate of the skipper was not known.
  • Imagine a number of passengers in an overcrowded lifeboat which has begun to ship water.
  • It is shipping water heavily, as last year's £247m loss demonstrates, and needs to throw half of its businesses overboard if it is to avoid being sunk by its debts.
3Take (oars) from the oarlocks and lay them inside a boat.
More example sentences
  • Once the boat had settled we shipped the oars, got out our lines, baited the hooks and dropped them over the gunwale.
  • Slowly, she got into the rowing boat, shipped the oars and made her way across to the centre of the river.
  • A hundred yards out he shipped the oars and started the motor.
3.1Fix (something such as a rudder or mast) in its place on a ship.


Old English scip (noun), late Old English scipian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schip and German Schiff.


a sinking ship

Used in various phrases to describe an organization or endeavor that is failing, usually in the context of criticizing someone for leaving it: they have fled like rats from a sinking ship
More example sentences
  • I, on the other hand am not impressed because if we're ever on a sinking ship, my husband is sinking like a rock.
  • I have to think of my future and I don't want to hang around a sinking ship.
  • Two months ago, his campaign looked like a sinking ship and today he's probably on the way to the nomination.

take ship

Set off on a voyage by ship; embark: finally, he took ship for Boston
More example sentences
  • Without the strong hand of the emperor, the German army began to break up: some returned to Europe, some took ship and sailed to Antioch, and some went overland to Antioch.
  • You will then take ship at Krelik and sail down the Spear.
  • On 17 March 49 B.C., Pompey took ship for Macedonia.

that (or the) ship has sailed

informal Used in reference to an opportunity that has passed or a situation that can no longer be changed: we’re good friends but I don’t think we’ll ever be anything more to each other—that ship has sailed
More example sentences
  • "They want us to reopen the case?" "No. That ship has sailed."
  • That ship has sailed, and there is already nuclear waste at various power plants throughout the United States.
  • His smile still makes her melt, but Sarah knows that ship has sailed.

when one's ship comes in

When one’s fortune is made.
More example sentences
  • The right honourable gentleman opposite is a very naughty man, and he will laugh on the other side of his face when my ship comes in.
  • She's the kind of real life gal who'll buy you a beer, let you cry on her shoulder and be the first one to give you a high-five when your ship comes in.
  • Uptown girl, you know I can't afford to buy her pearls, but maybe someday when my ship comes in, she'll understand what kind of guy I am.

Phrasal verbs

ship out

ship something out

Send (goods) to a distributor or customer, especially by ship.
More example sentences
  • Assemble a set of blocks and ship it out to the customer.
  • And just to set the stage, it is a dirty bomb that apparently goes off in one of the shipping containers out here at the Los Angeles Harbor.
  • We need to know who they are, and if they are here for the right reasons then we can deal with them, but if they are here for the wrong reasons we need to load them up and ship them out.



More example sentences
  • Which, of course, went down like a lead Zeppelin with the shipless sailors in the pub.
  • Its heroes, whose ghostly presences are often quoted in Kitaj's paintings, are the shipless helmsmen of modernism.
  • After a tumultuous turn of events, the general cast of the show is nailed down as the three end up shipless on one of the large continents.


More example sentences
  • In areas where the trusses exceeded maximum shippable weights, they were delivered with splices at the one-third points.
  • There's always that in-between food - food that is edible but not shippable.
  • Anything a forward-thinking architect could imagine was invented, manufactured, packaged, searchable on the Internet, purchasable with a credit card, and shippable overnight.

Definition of ship in:

There are 2 main definitions of ship in English:


Syllabification: ship
Pronunciation: /SHip


A romantic pairing between two characters in a fictional series, often one that is supported or portrayed by fans rather than depicted in the series itself: the thing that I loved about the Mulder/Scully ship was that we knew so much about their characters
More example sentences
  • I like to read about ships between fictional characters.
  • Their dedication to their ships is scary sometimes.
  • I literally cannot wait until your opinion piece on ships and fan fiction.

verb (ships, shipping, shipped)

[no object] Back to top  
Support or have a particular interest in a romantic pairing between two characters in a fictional series, often when this relationship is one portrayed by fans rather than depicted in the series itself: I’m still shipping for Edward/Hermione [with object]: if you ship Paul and Sarah, then you’d better avert your eyes for this next part
More example sentences
  • I've been shipping for Emily/Jack since the pilot of season 1.
  • I ship for Harry/Hermione because, well, they're always dropping hints.
  • People who ship Sam and Frodo literally disgust me.


early 21st century: abbreviation of relationship.

Definition of ship in: