Definition of ferry in English:



  • 1A boat or ship for conveying passengers and goods, especially over a relatively short distance and as a regular service.

    • ‘The driver pointed a white-gloved hand in the direction of a small ferry boat waiting at the pier, its engine idling.’
    • ‘They had taken a ferry boat tour around the bay, and Grandma Evelyn had been scared to death that Helen would topple over the rail.’
    • ‘The sun was scorching; we were watching the ferry boat leaving the harbour.’
    • ‘A ferry boat dropped us at a wooden quay to be met by a waiter bearing rum punch.’
    • ‘Until then, each river city worth its salt had a ferry boat joining both shores.’
    • ‘The completed road will connect the town of Metlakatla with a ferry boat dock to be built on the northeast side of the island.’
    • ‘From luxury yachts to tug boats, fishing vessels to ferries and cruise ships, Asenav competes on a global level.’
    • ‘Kunisada was born near Edo (today Tokyo) as the son of an affluent merchant with a ferry boat license.’
    • ‘Macao, which returned to Chinese rule in December 1999, is geographically connected to mainland China by a narrow isthmus and only a short jetfoil or ferry boat ride away from Hong Kong.’
    • ‘The SkyLab factory is based in Koh Si Chang, that small island 40 minutes by ferry boat from the Eastern Seaboard's Sriracha port.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The captain of the Staten Island ferry boat that crashed last October will avoid prosecution for lying to investigators.’
    • ‘Loloata uses a sophisticated little ferry boat to link it to the mainland.’
    • ‘In my time, Coronado was connected by ferry boat to San Diego.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ehlers and her dog were sent to an assistance center run by disaster-relief agencies, to join the family of one of victims and accompany them on a ferry boat ride to Ground Zero.’
    • ‘Other ferry boat owners in Ayia Napa said they had seen girls returning from a night on the high seas battered and bruised.’
    • ‘The entire population of 500,000 suffered from malaria, and the only functioning hotel in the country was a former Spanish Mediterranean ferry boat moored in the harbour.’
    • ‘The legislation will apply to all vessels including ferries, cargo ships and small boats at local and international level.’
    • ‘Brendan, a teacher in Saudi Arabia, is the fifth generation of his family to pilot the ferry boat, which has been in the family for over 40 years.’
    passenger boat, passenger ship, ferry boat, packet boat, packet, shuttle
    car ferry, train ferry, drive-on ferry, roll-off ferry, roll-on ferry
    ship, boat, vessel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A service using another mode of transport, especially aircraft, to convey passengers or goods.
      • ‘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.’


  • 1 Convey in a ferry or other ship or boat, especially across a short stretch of water.

    • ‘Ambulances came up Twaddell Avenue to ferry the injured away.’
    • ‘Whether State's transport lorries ferried them or that they came of their own is not the issue.’
    • ‘Some were loaded into a constant stream of helicopters which ferried the injured away.’
    • ‘Civilian vehicles helped ambulance crews in ferrying casualties to hospitals.’
    • ‘A 1943 Morecambe transport bus ferried passengers from Lancaster to the port adding to the history of the weekend.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Additional buses will be pressed into service by the Department of Transport to ferry the participants and the visitors to the different locations of the festival.’
    • ‘Its aircraft ferry 100 tons of fresh Pacific salmon to Miami each day.’
    • ‘It was getting dark and the helicopter ferrying him about the country, had to be back in Dublin before dark.’
    • ‘Ambulances that on Friday ferried the injured to hospital, spent yesterday standing by at the funerals to help relatives overcome with grief.’
    • ‘An ambulance then ferried the stricken officer away.’
    • ‘Rescuers frantically cut through twisted metal to reach survivors, as ambulances and buses ferried the injured to nearby hospitals.’
    • ‘He said the government had hired the helicopter for ferrying the Amarnath pilgrims but due to the snag it has been grounded.’
    • ‘A sea of black smoke plunged an entire neighbourhood into darkness as the fire continued to rage hours after the afternoon blast, and helicopters and ambulances ferried away the injured.’
    • ‘The official line of thinking in Iarnrod Eireann seems to be that the timber will now be ferried by private road transport.’
    • ‘Pakistani army helicopters are arriving to ferry some of the injured to hospitals, but locals complain it's not enough.’
    • ‘Another team was ferried by helicopter to the village of Lumno to bring tents and other items for 12,000 displaced people, including 500 children.’
    • ‘Firefighters had to jack up the bus to allow paramedics underneath to treat him before the air ambulance ferried him to Leeds General Infirmary.’
    • ‘Public pressure forced the maquila bosses to provide buses to ferry the girls home safely.’
    • ‘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.’
    transport, convey, carry, bear, ship, run, chauffeur, take, bring, shuttle
    go back and forth, shuttle, come and go, run
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Transport from one place to another on short or regular trips:
      ‘ambulances ferried the injured to hospital’


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