Definition of ferry in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈferē/

noun (plural ferries)

(also ferryboat)
1A boat or ship for conveying passengers and goods, especially over a relatively short distance and as a regular service.
Example sentences
  • I have seen him on a ferry boat on the Hudson River joke with the Italian bootblacks in the Neapolitan dialect and with complete success.
  • A ferry boat dropped us at a wooden quay to be met by a waiter bearing rum punch.
  • But if a rider refused a search, the State Patrol informed the captain of the ferry boat, who then refused to let the rider on the boat.
passenger boat, passenger ship, ferry boat, car ferry;
ship, boat, vessel
historical packet, packet boat
1.1A service for conveying passengers or goods by boat or ship.
Example sentences
  • A fast ferry operates in the summer season, travelling between Wellington and Picton in ninety minutes.
  • The Senegalese army, which was operating the ferry, said rescue operations would continue around the site and inside the boat.
  • He and his brother started by operating a rope-and-pulley ferry at Gorino Sulam, on the Gnocca branch of the river.
1.2The place from which a ferry service operates.
Example sentences
  • Members can meet at the ferry at 10 A. M.
  • Unfortunately, you have to be at the ferry by 6:30, so it was still a short night.
1.3A service using another mode of transportation to convey passengers and goods, especially aircraft.
Example sentences
  • If he did, I could have flown my aircraft on a ferry permit to another island to have it repaired.
  • We are more than happy to provide a quote for you aircraft ferry & delivery needs.
  • The legal terminology for a ferry permit is called a special flight permit.

verb (ferries, ferrying, ferried)

[with object]
1Convey in a ferry or other ship or boat, especially across a short stretch of water: riverboats ferried weekend picnickers to the park
More example sentences
  • Canoes and rafts ferry imperious ‘water spirits’ to masquerade venues.
  • The boats ferry about 30,000 people to and from work everyday.
  • Some ideas for the future of the lake already put forward include a water taxi ferrying more visitors around the lake, a cyclepath around its perimeter, and improving public rights-of-way around the shoreline.
1.1Transport from one place to another on short or regular trips: helicopters ferried 4,000 men into the desert
More example sentences
  • A black-robed priest offered what words of consolation and comfort he could to distraught onlookers as more than 20 ambulances ferried the injured to hospitals.
  • Restrictions remained in place on the city's main thoroughfare for a couple of hours as gardaí cordoned off the scene and ambulances ferried the injured to hospital.
  • Ambulances that on Friday ferried the injured to hospital, spent yesterday standing by at the funerals to help relatives overcome with grief.
transport, convey, carry, ship, run, take, bring, shuttle



Pronunciation: /ˈferēˌman/ Pronunciation: /ˈferēmən/
(plural ferrymen)
Example sentences
  • Every table has views over the loch, and the renovated croft and ferryman's cottage is decorated in a light, breezy way that immediately puts you at ease.
  • The ferryman steered his craft across the moonlit Nile.
  • My grim Mexican ferryman didn't utter a word throughout the crossing.


Middle English: from Old Norse ferja 'ferryboat', of Germanic origin and related to fare.

  • ford from Old English:

    This is a Germanic word, closely related to ferry (Middle English) which comes from Old Norse, and to fare (Old English). This originally meant both to journey, travel—as in farewell (Late Middle English) ‘go well, safe journey’—and the journey itself. From this developed the sense payment for a journey in late Middle English.

Words that rhyme with ferry

beriberi, berry, BlackBerry, bury, Ceri, Derry, Gerry, jerry, Kerry, merry, perry, Pondicherry, sherry, terry, very, wherry, wolfberry

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fer·ry

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