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’
    • ‘They also provide maintenance training for Sailors aboard ships.’
    • ‘They follow ships at sea, feeding on the refuse left in their wakes.’
    • ‘The location is a huge container ship docked in an unknown harbour.’
    • ‘Travelers on board ships sailing from America were not yet foreigners, but they were definitely not at home.’
    • ‘There are ships off the coast with humanitarian rations and medicines aboard.’
    • ‘There was every kind from little boats to huge cargo ships, from dilapidated sailboats to magnificent barges.’
    • ‘In the meantime, officials have cleared cruise ships to leave the port.’
    • ‘The first two ships to set sail are just days away from British waters.’
    • ‘A contract has been placed by the Ministry of Defence for two large amphibious landing ships.’
    • ‘The packages are just for the sailors and marines aboard ships.’
    • ‘A man was arrested yesterday after a five-and-a-half hour siege on a cargo ship off the coast of Scotland.’
    • ‘Returning to Metro had taken him several months of stowing away on cargo ships and transports before finally reaching the city.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This afternoon at 1:32 p.m. a Canadian cruise ship sailed near our borders.’
    • ‘After leaving the Army, Bill served on board a passenger ship sailing between Southampton and South Africa.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At sea German U-boats were sinking so many merchant ships that Britain was close to starvation.’
    • ‘The next level is represented by countries with sufficiently large naval surface ships.’
    vessel, craft, boat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sailing vessel with a bowsprit and three or more square-rigged masts.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Indeed, one of the main reasons for its construction was to prevent Viking ships from sailing unchecked upriver.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘At a young age, Ramona went out on her father's small sloop and learned everything about a ship and sailing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How many times as children did we pretend we were the captain of a pirate ship sailing the Spanish Main?’
      • ‘During the Civil War, Confederate ships frequently attacked Union vessels on the high seas.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In 1727 he won the Grand Prix of the Académie Royale des Sciences for his submission on masts of ships.’
      • ‘It was fantastic to see all the ships sails at full mast, it looked like some 18th century sea battle.’
      • ‘In September 1519 he set sail with five ships and 240 men.’
      • ‘She found herself laying on the broken mast of the ship, with white sails and splinters of wood floating lazily around her.’
      • ‘In the early years of sailing ships, the European ships had a square sail design.’
      • ‘The marines and seamen soon had the pirate ship swept of her inhabitants.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He believed that British shipping was licensed and that the opium ships were vessels which had evaded licensing.’
    2. 1.2informal Any boat, especially a racing boat.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With a beam of 106 ft, the ships are the largest vessels that can fit through the Panama Canal.’
      ocean liner, passenger vessel, boat
      View synonyms
  • 2A spaceship.

    • ‘It believes that a circular spaceship carrying 1,500 smaller ships filled with bombs will at some indeterminate point destroy both Britain and America.’
    • ‘Similarly, to deal with the intense radiation environment, the ship is equipped with a magnetic shield that they can turn on when needed.’
    • ‘These people kept the ship running, transporting the strange and deadly cargo around the universe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For her efforts, the combined gunfire from the three ships finished the space station.’
    • ‘To launch a ship into higher orbit, or to a distant planet, it must carry more fuel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He gave mental orders to his staff aboard the command ship in orbit beyond the third moon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fighters kept their gravity well below Earth norm, the standard gravity found on ships and space stations.’
    • ‘He had been told to expect the ship to re-enter real space sometime in the next hour.’
    • ‘For Jameson, the building is like an alien ship, a space capsule.’
    • ‘Additionally, large alien space ships may orbit Earth.’
    • ‘The stealthy ship had arrived on the planet several hours before, undetected by the Planetary Defense Grid.’
    • ‘They docked their ships back at the space station.’
    • ‘We're running out of here before that crowd gets to the spaceport and trashes our ship.’
    • ‘Other ships were mineral transports bringing raw materials from the outlying planets of the solar system back to Earth for processing.’
  • 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

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

    ‘the wounded soldiers were shipped home’
    • ‘Studying the debacle of the spoiled shipment, he surmised that other companies shipping perishable goods to Asia must have had similar experiences.’
    • ‘In 1686 alone these colonies shipped goods worth over £1 million to London.’
    • ‘The Air Service shipped some 3,000 carpenters, bricklayers, and laborers to England to prepare these facilities.’
    • ‘Of course, we'll cut their benefits, combat pay and make it difficult to ship their goods home from their overseas postings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Arab roofers and master tilers were shipped from Morocco.’
    • ‘Manila and the adjacent ports are the best equipped to ship manufactured goods.’
    • ‘If all else fails, the mafia hijack transports of cigarettes and alcohol and then ship the stolen goods into Britain.’
    • ‘The city currently spends $1.2 million annually to ship discarded bags to China for recycling.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Furthermore, he was the first man who shipped peaches from the United States to Europe.’
    • ‘At 25 he joined the service and was shipped to the Philippines.’
    • ‘From its piers Iraq began to ship the goods from those factories to buyers in other countries throughout the region.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nearly 40 percent of the containers are shipped back to California ports empty.’
    • ‘It takes another 12 days to ship goods directly from Tanjung Priok to Busan Port in South Korea.’
    • ‘Community service, national service, shipping the offenders off to some far off land like Australia?’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Transportation costs had to be incurred to ship goods to consumers in proportion to their distance from producers.’
      • ‘Unbelievably, most of the 1.5 billion tons of hazardous cargo shipped across this country every year go unchecked.’
      • ‘A lot of our products are shipped by air.’
      • ‘When we speak of trade, we usually think of goods being shipped across borders.’
      • ‘It also owns transport companies, which are essential for shipping goods around the country.’
      • ‘For many years, material and bulk goods were shipped to military bases via rail, but now deliveries are made mostly by commercial trucks.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2ship out[no object] (of a naval force) go to sea from a home port:
      ‘Bob got sick a week before we shipped 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.’
      • ‘One just about to ship out, the other coming home for the holidays.’
      • ‘Lt. Philips has been called to active duty and is to ship out next week for Kuwait.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘U.S. troops get a preview of battlefield conditions before they ship out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Finally, on the morning of July 18 the regiment broke camp and boarded the transport Pennsylvania to ship out for the Philippines.’
    3. 1.3dated [no object] Embark on a ship:
      ‘people wishing to get from London to New York ship at Liverpool’
    4. 1.4 (of a sailor) take service on a ship:
      ‘Jack, you shipped with the Admiral once, didn't you?’
  • 2[no object] (of a product) be made available for purchase:

    ‘the cellular phone is expected to ship at about $500 sometime this summer’
    • ‘Expect more to be revealed when the product ships in Japan in July.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The delay is surely something of an embarrassment for the company, which recently promised the product would ship on 30 June.’
    • ‘Instead of companies being tied to the MySQL General Public License the product will ship under a commercial license.’
  • 3[with object] (of a boat) take in (water) over the side.

    • ‘We were shipping a lot of water over the deck.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By the next morning, 1 June 1916, the Lutzow was shipping enough water to keep her speed below 5 knots.’
    • ‘He told me afterwards the yacht was believed to be shipping water and the fate of the skipper was not known.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4[with 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The barge slowed as it approached the quay, and the rowers shipped their oars.’
    • ‘A hundred yards out he shipped the oars and started the motor.’
    • ‘Then the crew of the long boat shipped their oars and headed for the shore of the chosen island.’
    • ‘He quickly shipped his oar and shoved Lori roughly out of the way as he took care of hers.’
    • ‘Slowly, she got into the rowing boat, shipped the oars and made her way across to the centre of the river.’
    • ‘Once the boat had settled we shipped the oars, got out our lines, baited the hooks and dropped them over the gunwale.’
    1. 4.1 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’
      • ‘So what makes the captain of a sinking ship so deserving?’
      • ‘His resignation should shortly follow the elections, paving the way for someone new to come in and rebuild a sinking ship.’
      • ‘They haven't jumped a sinking ship and that's appreciated.’
      • ‘I have to think of my future and I don't want to hang around a sinking ship.’
      • ‘I, on the other hand am not impressed because if we're ever on a sinking ship, my husband is sinking like a rock.’
      • ‘The experience that steadied a sinking ship is likely to remain and changes will be implemented with care.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Has he received words of encouragement from friends and the like, or has this been jumping off a sinking ship?’
      • ‘The city government cleared out Tuesday night, leaving a sinking ship.’
      • ‘But he got aboard a sinking ship and has had little chance to plug the leaks.’
  • ship a sea

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

      • ‘Coming in we shipped a sea on the quarter bow, which caused the boat to fill and turn on her broadside.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I do consider that for men in big ships a sea engagement is a particularly trying experience.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is very odd that this ship shipped a sea the very hour as we were, which stove her boats, and bulwarks.’
      • ‘In rounding Flamborough Head the boat shipped a sea and washed the mizzen and boom away, and filled the coble on deck.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If she shipped a sea, or if she touched a snag (and there were plenty of them about) we were done for.’
  • take ship

    • Set off on a voyage by ship; embark:

      ‘they were due to take ship for Rhodes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In 296, with Maximian guarding the Rhine, Constantius and his praetorian prefect, Asclepiodotus, took ship for Britain.’
      • ‘And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.’
      • ‘The first battle was decisive, in so far as James immediately accepted that his own game was up, and took ship for France.’
      • ‘On 17 March 49 B.C., Pompey took ship for Macedonia.’
      • ‘You will then take ship at Krelik and sail down the Spear.’
      • ‘The army took ship on 5 April, but was struck by catastrophe.’
      • ‘These ambassadors took ship for Norway immediately after the court scene, on 2 November.’
      • ‘We took ship together to England, to visit the court in London.’
      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’
      • ‘The signs were pointing towards Gardner making his return before the end of the month, but 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.’
      • ‘That ship has sailed, and Wal-Mart is firmly at the helm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘"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.’
      • ‘And whenever you mention sovereignty now, you will be told: "Oh, that ship has sailed".’
      • ‘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.’
  • when one's ship comes in (or home)

    • When one's fortune is made.

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

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’
    • ‘Mindy/Danny are meant to be together, no rush; the anticipation is a huge part of what makes shipping these guys so much fun.’
    • ‘I ship Aragorn and Boromir: it's so sad at his death and Aragorn kisses his forehead.’
    • ‘Love Downton Abbey: specifially ship Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes.’
    • ‘I don’t ship Aragorn/Legolas, but there’s so much subtext in the movies with all the significant looks they exchange.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ever since I became attached to the Harry Potter universe I have always shipped for Harry/Hermione all the way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm shipping hard on Danny and Mindy on The Mindy Project!’
    • ‘People who ship Sam and Frodo literally disgust me.’

Origin

Early 21st century: abbreviation of relationship.

Pronunciation:

ship

/ʃɪp/