Main definitions of ship in English

: ship1ship2

ship1

noun

  • 1A large boat for transporting people or goods by sea.

    ‘the ship left England with a crew of 36’
    ‘a cargo ship’
    • ‘A contract has been placed by the Ministry of Defence for two large amphibious landing ships.’
    • ‘Travelers on board ships sailing from America were not yet foreigners, but they were definitely not at home.’
    • ‘The location is a huge container ship docked in an unknown harbour.’
    • ‘They follow ships at sea, feeding on the refuse left in their wakes.’
    • ‘The next level is represented by countries with sufficiently large naval surface ships.’
    • ‘There was every kind from little boats to huge cargo ships, from dilapidated sailboats to magnificent barges.’
    • ‘They will be joined later this week by 800 Royal Marines on the new helicopter assault ship Ocean, which has set sail with a flotilla of three support ships and a frigate.’
    • ‘This afternoon at 1:32 p.m. a Canadian cruise ship sailed near our borders.’
    • ‘She said the family felt terrible that so many vacationers on board the cruise ship had been frightened and delayed.’
    • ‘This is an international legal requirement for all personnel who work aboard ships, including sailors, officers, captains and engineers.’
    • ‘Also, some of the cruise ships that traditionally dock here have left the area now, with their passengers on-board.’
    • ‘There are ships off the coast with humanitarian rations and medicines aboard.’
    • ‘Returning to Metro had taken him several months of stowing away on cargo ships and transports before finally reaching the city.’
    • ‘A man was arrested yesterday after a five-and-a-half hour siege on a cargo ship off the coast of Scotland.’
    • ‘They also provide maintenance training for Sailors aboard ships.’
    • ‘The packages are just for the sailors and marines aboard ships.’
    • ‘At sea German U-boats were sinking so many merchant ships that Britain was close to starvation.’
    • ‘The first two ships to set sail are just days away from British waters.’
    • ‘After leaving the Army, Bill served on board a passenger ship sailing between Southampton and South Africa.’
    • ‘In the meantime, officials have cleared cruise ships to leave the port.’
    vessel, craft, boat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sailing vessel with a bowsprit and three or more square-rigged masts.
      • ‘In September 1519 he set sail with five ships and 240 men.’
      • ‘At a young age, Ramona went out on her father's small sloop and learned everything about a ship and sailing.’
      • ‘Harnessed up and clipped on - and on flat water - the task was a different story to how it would have been in the glory days of square-rigged pirate ships, exposed on a rolling sea.’
      • ‘The marines and seamen soon had the pirate ship swept of her inhabitants.’
      • ‘In the early years of sailing ships, the European ships had a square sail design.’
      • ‘Indeed, one of the main reasons for its construction was to prevent Viking ships from sailing unchecked upriver.’
      • ‘During the Civil War, Confederate ships frequently attacked Union vessels on the high seas.’
      • ‘He lashed himself to the ship's mast, plugged his crew's ears with wax and ordered them not to look at his face or listen to his commands.’
      • ‘In 1727 he won the Grand Prix of the Académie Royale des Sciences for his submission on masts of ships.’
      • ‘Almost 100 lots were sold at the auction including a balloon ride and a trip on a tall sailing ship.’
      • ‘She stood at the bowsprit of the ship, as still as the bolted-down bench she was standing on.’
      • ‘Shipwreck D is so well-preserved that cord tied in a V-shape at the top of the ship's wooden mast is still clearly visible.’
      • ‘It was fantastic to see all the ships sails at full mast, it looked like some 18th century sea battle.’
      • ‘The name St Elmo's fire came about because this type of lightning was first seen by sailors on the masts of ships, and St Elmo is the patron saint of sailors.’
      • ‘The ceiling was about ten feet high and seemed to reflect the actual sky that hung over the masts of the ship, many stories above.’
      • ‘She found herself laying on the broken mast of the ship, with white sails and splinters of wood floating lazily around her.’
      • ‘He believed that British shipping was licensed and that the opium ships were vessels which had evaded licensing.’
      • ‘She stared at the pirate as he leaned up against the fore mast of the ship and grabbed a rope that connected to one of the sails for balance.’
      • ‘How many times as children did we pretend we were the captain of a pirate ship sailing the Spanish Main?’
      • ‘All I could think about was my handsome brother dressed as a Mohawk swinging from the mast of the ship and landing on deck like a swashbuckling pirate!’
    2. 1.2informal Any boat, especially a racing boat.
      • ‘Luxury vessels and midsize ships sail from Vancouver, BC and Seattle.’
      • ‘With a beam of 106 ft, the ships are the largest vessels that can fit through the Panama Canal.’
      • ‘The air was thick with the smell of the ocean, sailors beginning to untie their ships for mornings of sailing and fishing.’
      ocean liner, passenger vessel, boat
      View synonyms
  • 2A spaceship.

    • ‘Similarly, to deal with the intense radiation environment, the ship is equipped with a magnetic shield that they can turn on when needed.’
    • ‘They docked their ships back at the space station.’
    • ‘For her efforts, the combined gunfire from the three ships finished the space station.’
    • ‘He gave mental orders to his staff aboard the command ship in orbit beyond the third moon.’
    • ‘Other ships were mineral transports bringing raw materials from the outlying planets of the solar system back to Earth for processing.’
    • ‘Additionally, large alien space ships may orbit Earth.’
    • ‘Over the course of the game, which is made up of thirteen missions, players will have the opportunity to pilot four different ships with eleven various starship weapons.’
    • ‘He had been told to expect the ship to re-enter real space sometime in the next hour.’
    • ‘The stealthy ship had arrived on the planet several hours before, undetected by the Planetary Defense Grid.’
    • ‘The two ships would dock in orbit, and propellants would transfer into the lunar craft.’
    • ‘The command ship accommodated three astronauts and the lunar lander only two.’
    • ‘For Jameson, the building is like an alien ship, a space capsule.’
    • ‘We're running out of here before that crowd gets to the spaceport and trashes our ship.’
    • ‘Fighters kept their gravity well below Earth norm, the standard gravity found on ships and space stations.’
    • ‘Fighters will be launched and recovered from space stations and ships.’
    • ‘There were whole armadas of different ships, space stations and planets, no end to the add-ons for your craft and every mission was different.’
    • ‘These people kept the ship running, transporting the strange and deadly cargo around the universe.’
    • ‘It believes that a circular spaceship carrying 1,500 smaller ships filled with bombs will at some indeterminate point destroy both Britain and America.’
    • ‘To launch a ship into higher orbit, or to a distant planet, it must carry more fuel.’
  • 3North American An aircraft.

    • ‘Clearly, the aircraft was one hot ship and it started piling up victories until tragedy struck at the 1937 Cleveland event.’
    aircraft, craft, flying machine
    View synonyms

verb

  • 1with object and adverbial of direction Transport (goods or people) on a ship.

    ‘the wounded soldiers were shipped home’
    • ‘Nearly 40 percent of the containers are shipped back to California ports empty.’
    • ‘From its piers Iraq began to ship the goods from those factories to buyers in other countries throughout the region.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘During the spring of 1941, the plane was shipped to Britain and went into service with the Royal Air Force as a Hurricane Mark I.’
    • ‘Arab roofers and master tilers were shipped from Morocco.’
    • ‘The city currently spends $1.2 million annually to ship discarded bags to China for recycling.’
    • ‘Community service, national service, shipping the offenders off to some far off land like Australia?’
    • ‘In 1686 alone these colonies shipped goods worth over £1 million to London.’
    • ‘Manila and the adjacent ports are the best equipped to ship manufactured goods.’
    • ‘She said that Namibia's access to the sea via the port of Walvis Bay would be a bonus for Namibia to ship goods to the US via the Atlantic Ocean.’
    • ‘For quite a while I was a merchant, shipping goods to the Baronies, but when I saw what a fair town this was, I eventually decided to stay, and moved my collection here.’
    • ‘Of course, we'll cut their benefits, combat pay and make it difficult to ship their goods home from their overseas postings.’
    • ‘Furthermore, he was the first man who shipped peaches from the United States to Europe.’
    • ‘The Air Service shipped some 3,000 carpenters, bricklayers, and laborers to England to prepare these facilities.’
    • ‘At 25 he joined the service and was shipped to the Philippines.’
    • ‘Studying the debacle of the spoiled shipment, he surmised that other companies shipping perishable goods to Asia must have had similar experiences.’
    • ‘It takes another 12 days to ship goods directly from Tanjung Priok to Busan Port in South Korea.’
    • ‘If all else fails, the mafia hijack transports of cigarettes and alcohol and then ship the stolen goods into Britain.’
    • ‘If goods are shipped to or from the United States, this bill of lading shall be subject to US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1936.’
    convey, carry, take, transfer, move, shift, bring, fetch, send, deliver, bear, conduct, haul, lug, cart, run, ship, ferry
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Send by some other means of transport or by mail.
      ‘he was captured and shipped off to a labour camp’
      ‘the freight would be shipped by rail’
      ‘spare parts were quickly shipped out’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the same reasons, many U.S. online merchants, particularly smaller companies, do not currently ship goods to Canada.’
      • ‘A lot of our products are shipped by air.’
      • ‘For many years, material and bulk goods were shipped to military bases via rail, but now deliveries are made mostly by commercial trucks.’
      • ‘It also owns transport companies, which are essential for shipping goods around the country.’
      • ‘Transportation costs had to be incurred to ship goods to consumers in proportion to their distance from producers.’
      • ‘When we speak of trade, we usually think of goods being shipped across borders.’
      • ‘Unbelievably, most of the 1.5 billion tons of hazardous cargo shipped across this country every year go unchecked.’
    2. 1.2no object (of a product) be made available for purchase.
      ‘the cellular phone is expected to ship at about $500 sometime this summer’
      • ‘Instead of companies being tied to the MySQL General Public License the product will ship under a commercial license.’
      • ‘Expect more to be revealed when the product ships in Japan in July.’
      • ‘The delay is surely something of an embarrassment for the company, which recently promised the product would ship on 30 June.’
      • ‘Support for IP is expected to be added some time after the product ships later this year.’
      • ‘The company has already announced that the product will ship in Russia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.’
    3. 1.3ship outno object (of a naval force) go to sea from a home port.
      ‘Bob got sick a week before we shipped out’
      • ‘U.S. troops get a preview of battlefield conditions before they ship out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The 203rd Legion has been ordered to ship out immediately.’
      • ‘When the 356th got ready to ship out they only needed one Replacement Pilot so they kept Withers and sent three of us back to Westover for re-assignment.’
      • ‘One just about to ship out, the other coming home for the holidays.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lt. Philips has been called to active duty and is to ship out next week for Kuwait.’
      • ‘For Martha Treadway, late August 1918 was dominated by the fear that Osie and Johnnie would ship out at any moment and she would never see them again.’
      • ‘Whatever one believes, the accident has left deep anxiety among sailors who have just graduated from naval training and are about to ship out.’
      • ‘Finally, on the morning of July 18 the regiment broke camp and boarded the transport Pennsylvania to ship out for the Philippines.’
    4. 1.4dated no object Embark on a ship.
      ‘people wishing to get from London to New York ship at Liverpool’
    5. 1.5 (of a sailor) take service on a ship.
      ‘Jack, you shipped with the Admiral once, didn't you?’
  • 2with object (of a boat) take in (water) over the side.

    • ‘By the next morning, 1 June 1916, the Lutzow was shipping enough water to keep her speed below 5 knots.’
    • ‘We were shipping a lot of water over the deck.’
    • ‘Keeping close to the lee shore with John in the bows watching out for rocks, which could be the size of a small car we slowly made our way back to base, shipping a lot of water as we did so.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3with object Take (oars) from the rowlocks and lay them inside a boat.

    • ‘Katherine moved right out on deck just as Matt shipped his oars and called out.’
    • ‘Slowly, she got into the rowing boat, shipped the oars and made her way across to the centre of the river.’
    • ‘Then the crew of the long boat shipped their oars and headed for the shore of the chosen island.’
    • ‘A hundred yards out he shipped the oars and started the motor.’
    • ‘He quickly shipped his oar and shoved Lori roughly out of the way as he took care of hers.’
    • ‘It get very annoying to have to, in effect, ship one's oars every time he passes, and continually having to check what he's doing.’
    • ‘Once the boat had settled we shipped the oars, got out our lines, baited the hooks and dropped them over the gunwale.’
    • ‘The barge slowed as it approached the quay, and the rowers shipped their oars.’
    1. 3.1 Fix (something such as a rudder or mast) in its place on a boat or ship.

Phrases

  • a sinking ship

    • Used with reference to a situation in which people are deserting an organization or enterprise that is failing.

      ‘they have fled like rats from a sinking ship’
      • ‘But he got aboard a sinking ship and has had little chance to plug the leaks.’
      • ‘The city government cleared out Tuesday night, leaving a sinking ship.’
      • ‘His resignation should shortly follow the elections, paving the way for someone new to come in and rebuild a sinking ship.’
      • ‘Two months ago, his campaign looked like a sinking ship and today he's probably on the way to the nomination.’
      • ‘Given his obvious skills at putting the best face on a sinking ship, surely a role with the National Party would have been more appropriate?’
      • ‘The experience that steadied a sinking ship is likely to remain and changes will be implemented with care.’
      • ‘I have to think of my future and I don't want to hang around a sinking ship.’
      • ‘They haven't jumped a sinking ship and that's appreciated.’
      • ‘Has he received words of encouragement from friends and the like, or has this been jumping off a sinking ship?’
      • ‘So what makes the captain of a sinking ship so deserving?’
      • ‘I, on the other hand am not impressed because if we're ever on a sinking ship, my husband is sinking like a rock.’
  • ship a sea

    • (of a boat) be flooded by a wave.

      • ‘The third time, they got off, though not without shipping a sea which drenched them all, and half filled their boat, keeping them baling, until they reached their ship.’
      • ‘Zethar is one of the earlier boats with the low coaming at the forward end of the cockpit so if we were to ship a sea it would go straight below.’
      • ‘One of the oilers stood watch at the dining room door, closing it when the boat shipped a sea and opening it when the decks were clear to let the water out of the cabins.’
      • ‘He accordingly decided on beaching the boat towards the Wanganui, but when about a mile from the shore she shipped a sea and eventually capsized.’
      • ‘In rounding Flamborough Head the boat shipped a sea and washed the mizzen and boom away, and filled the coble on deck.’
      • ‘Coming in we shipped a sea on the quarter bow, which caused the boat to fill and turn on her broadside.’
      • ‘I do consider that for men in big ships a sea engagement is a particularly trying experience.’
      • ‘If she shipped a sea, or if she touched a snag (and there were plenty of them about) we were done for.’
      • ‘It is very odd that this ship shipped a sea the very hour as we were, which stove her boats, and bulwarks.’
      • ‘He shipped a sea or two, as the sailor would say, before he was rescued by the helping hand of his companion from a watery grave.’
  • take ship

    • Set off on a voyage by ship; embark.

      ‘they were due to take ship for Rhodes’
      • ‘You will then take ship at Krelik and sail down the Spear.’
      • ‘Early in 1406 events came to a head when James fled for safety to the Bass Rock, took ship for France, only to be captured at sea and delivered to Henry IV of England.’
      • ‘In 296, with Maximian guarding the Rhine, Constantius and his praetorian prefect, Asclepiodotus, took ship for Britain.’
      • ‘The army took ship on 5 April, but was struck by catastrophe.’
      • ‘And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.’
      • ‘We took ship together to England, to visit the court in London.’
      • ‘On 17 March 49 B.C., Pompey took ship for Macedonia.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These ambassadors took ship for Norway immediately after the court scene, on 2 November.’
      • ‘The first battle was decisive, in so far as James immediately accepted that his own game was up, and took ship for France.’
      board ship, go on board, go aboard, climb aboard, step aboard, take ship
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘And whenever you mention sovereignty now, you will be told: "Oh, that ship has sailed".’
      • ‘It's great that they can still pull big numbers with this show/format in Brazil and elsewhere, but the ship has sailed in North America.’
      • ‘The signs were pointing towards Gardner making his return before the end of the month, but that ship has sailed.’
      • ‘It's time to accept that the ship has sailed and no matter how hard I chase after it with the world's fastest speedboat I may never catch up.’
      • ‘I think the ship has sailed on my career in a uniform, though once in awhile I joke about being available if the Yankees need another reliever.’
      • ‘Well, I still think the art direction is a little too much the style of the books' designer, Seth, as opposed to Charles M. Schulz, but I suppose that ship has sailed.’
      • ‘"They want us to reopen the case?" "No. That ship has sailed."’
      • ‘His smile still makes her melt, but Sarah knows that ship has sailed.’
      • ‘That ship has sailed, and there is already nuclear waste at various power plants throughout the United States.’
      • ‘That ship has sailed, and Wal-Mart is firmly at the helm.’
  • when one's ship comes in (or home)

    • When one's fortune is made.

      • ‘I remember hearing my parents talk about how much better life would be when their ship came in, but I never knew whether or not they really expected it to happen.’
      • ‘But my worst fear - echoing my elder daughter's prediction that ‘Dad, when your ship comes in you'll be at the airport!’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even people who were flat broke got in on the action when brokers lent them the money to buy shares, in the belief that when their ship came in, they'd share the ride.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

ship

/ʃɪp/

Main definitions of ship in English

: ship1ship2

ship2

noun

informal
  • 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’
    • ‘I'm sure that many will agree with me when I say that Mulder and Scully are the ship to end all ships.’
    • ‘While some might have welcomed a ship of Tauriel and Legolas, there are still plenty, us included, who disagree.’
    • ‘It looks like the Kirk/Spock ship is back in this new clip from Star Trek: Into The Darkness.’
    • ‘I literally cannot wait until your opinion piece on ships and fan fiction.’
    • ‘My fave ships are from shows: Bones, Being Human, True Blood etc.’
    • ‘Their dedication to their ships is scary sometimes.’
    • ‘This one's for fans of the Draco and Hermione ship.’
    • ‘I like to read about ships between fictional characters.’
    • ‘In January she dipped into the world of Harry/Draco, and has been writing in that ship ever since.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]informal
  • 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’
    • ‘Love Downton Abbey: specifially ship Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes.’
    • ‘I've been shipping for Emily/Jack since the pilot of season 1.’
    • ‘People who ship Sam and Frodo literally disgust me.’
    • ‘No Mindy-Jeremy shipping for now: one of the story lines they had just begun shooting was Jeremy dating one of Mindy's best friends.’
    • ‘I'm shipping hard on Danny and Mindy on The Mindy Project!’
    • ‘I don’t ship Aragorn/Legolas, but there’s so much subtext in the movies with all the significant looks they exchange.’
    • ‘I ship Aragorn and Boromir: it's so sad at his death and Aragorn kisses his forehead.’
    • ‘I ship for Harry/Hermione because, well, they're always dropping hints.’
    • ‘Mindy/Danny are meant to be together, no rush; the anticipation is a huge part of what makes shipping these guys so much fun.’
    • ‘Ever since I became attached to the Harry Potter universe I have always shipped for Harry/Hermione all the way.’

Origin

Early 21st century: abbreviation of relationship.

Pronunciation

ship

/ʃɪp/