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.

    • ‘Other ferry boat owners in Ayia Napa said they had seen girls returning from a night on the high seas battered and bruised.’
    • ‘Until then, each river city worth its salt had a ferry boat joining both shores.’
    • ‘The legislation will apply to all vessels including ferries, cargo ships and small boats at local and international level.’
    • ‘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 completed road will connect the town of Metlakatla with a ferry boat dock to be built on the northeast side of the island.’
    • ‘The SkyLab factory is based in Koh Si Chang, that small island 40 minutes by ferry boat from the Eastern Seaboard's Sriracha port.’
    • ‘Loloata uses a sophisticated little ferry boat to link it to the mainland.’
    • ‘From luxury yachts to tug boats, fishing vessels to ferries and cruise ships, Asenav competes on a global 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.’
    • ‘The captain of the Staten Island ferry boat that crashed last October will avoid prosecution for lying to investigators.’
    • ‘In my time, Coronado was connected by ferry boat to San Diego.’
    • ‘A ferry boat dropped us at a wooden quay to be met by a waiter bearing rum punch.’
    • ‘The sun was scorching; we were watching the ferry boat leaving the harbour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Kunisada was born near Edo (today Tokyo) as the son of an affluent merchant with a ferry boat license.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
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    1. 1.1A service for conveying passengers or goods by boat or ship.
      • ‘The report also contains an extremely detailed analysis of the cost likely to be incurred in operating a ferry to Albania.’
      • ‘For the evening rush, DOT will operate a ferry from Whitehall to the Brooklyn Army terminal.’
      • ‘A chap called Jackson once operated a ferry over the Mersey until a footbridge was built in 1816.’
      • ‘The Senegalese army, which was operating the ferry, said rescue operations would continue around the site and inside the boat.’
      • ‘A fast ferry operates in the summer season, travelling between Wellington and Picton in ninety minutes.’
      • ‘He was reputedly alerted to its power when a Captain Clark told him he had operated a ferry from Spain to Morocco without incident for 23 years.’
      • ‘From April to September, P&O Ferries operates a ferry to Troon, which is only a 35-minute drive from Glasgow.’
      • ‘This in turn gave rise for the need to operate a ferry between the town and the island.’
      • ‘The port, once famous for shipbuilding, had a sizeable whaling fleet, and operated a ferry across the firth to Granton until 1939.’
      • ‘The group also knows if a ferry operated from its harbour to Cork it would attract a number of tourists in both directions.’
      • ‘He and his brother started by operating a rope-and-pulley ferry at Gorino Sulam, on the Gnocca branch of the river.’
      • ‘We are against Sunday ferries yet the council operates a ferry on a Sunday on the sound of Barra.’
      • ‘A year later a ferry operated and in 1882 the Bank of Adelaide opened a branch office in the town.’
      • ‘These days the ferry operates from May to August and growth in the industry is limited in a number of ways.’
      • ‘Transport Minister Trish White said the first ferry should be operating by mid 2005.’
      • ‘Because they operated a ferry and offered accommodation they were permitted to sell liquor, and their house became a social centre for the runholders.’
    2. 1.2The place from which a ferry service operates.
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3A service using another mode of transportation to convey passengers and goods, especially aircraft.
      • ‘The legal terminology for a ferry permit is called a special flight permit.’
      • ‘We are more than happy to provide a quote for you aircraft ferry & delivery needs.’
      • ‘If he did, I could have flown my aircraft on a ferry permit to another island to have it repaired.’


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

    ‘riverboats ferried weekend picnickers to the park’
    • ‘Andrew Wilson is the man behind the Duck boats which are ferrying tens of thousands of tourists around the historic city of Boston, including a splash into the Charles river.’
    • ‘Orders for ferrying goods on the boat are falling by the day.’
    • ‘We hired a local boat to ferry us across the river; the reflection of the temple shrinking away from us as we approached.’
    • ‘A rowing boat ferried people to do their shopping or drink their beer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Three boats were used to ferry residents from Rajiv and Indra colonies to safety.’
    • ‘The boat dropped anchor in the middle and we were ferried in smaller boats to the harbour.’
    • ‘A private boat ferried the contestants to the island at the mouth of the Hudson, a stone's throw from the Statue of Liberty.’
    • ‘The school authorities had hired a couple of boats to ferry the students to the world famous Mughal garden through Dal Lake.’
    • ‘The boats ferry about 30,000 people to and from work everyday.’
    • ‘Throughout the afternoon, a boat ferried community members out for a look at the aquaculture cages and the thousands of trout feeding there.’
    • ‘Besides putting out to the sea, fishermen who have boats ferry people on alternate days, he says.’
    • ‘A nonstop stream of boats ferries people and goods between the two countries totally unpoliced.’
    • ‘But because there is no bridge to the island, they and their equipment had to be ferried across on boats belonging to islanders and others using the river.’
    • ‘Carlyle, 44, had the starring role as a deckhand on a boat ferrying Chinese immigrants from Belgium to Scotland.’
    • ‘Already there have been reports of another boat ferrying illegals landing on the north Queensland coast.’
    • ‘At the River Club, staff and visitors were ferried out in rubber boats after the Liesbeeck River flooded the ground floor of the building and its parking area.’
    • ‘The Moon River is just one of the boats which ferries tourists and sightseers up and down the river around the year, but the large cruiser has become more than just a mode of transport.’
    • ‘Canoes and rafts ferry imperious ‘water spirits’ to masquerade venues.’
    • ‘Here, unless you have booked a berth on one of the cruise boats that ply these waters in summer, you will have to ask Bill Wilder, the English owner of the island, to ferry you across the waters of Loch Broome.’
    transport, convey, carry, bear, ship, run, chauffeur, take, bring, shuttle
    go back and forth, shuttle, come and go, run
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Transport from one place to another on short or regular trips.
      ‘helicopters ferried 4,000 men into the desert’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said the government had hired the helicopter for ferrying the Amarnath pilgrims but due to the snag it has been grounded.’
      • ‘Rescuers frantically cut through twisted metal to reach survivors, as ambulances and buses ferried the injured to nearby hospitals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was getting dark and the helicopter ferrying him about the country, had to be back in Dublin before dark.’
      • ‘The official line of thinking in Iarnrod Eireann seems to be that the timber will now be ferried by private road transport.’
      • ‘Its aircraft ferry 100 tons of fresh Pacific salmon to Miami each day.’
      • ‘Ambulances came up Twaddell Avenue to ferry the injured away.’
      • ‘Some were loaded into a constant stream of helicopters which ferried the injured away.’
      • ‘Firefighters had to jack up the bus to allow paramedics underneath to treat him before the air ambulance ferried him to Leeds General Infirmary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Whether State's transport lorries ferried them or that they came of their own is not the issue.’
      • ‘Ambulances that on Friday ferried the injured to hospital, spent yesterday standing by at the funerals to help relatives overcome with grief.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pakistani army helicopters are arriving to ferry some of the injured to hospitals, but locals complain it's not enough.’
      • ‘Civilian vehicles helped ambulance crews in ferrying casualties to hospitals.’
      • ‘An ambulance then ferried the stricken officer away.’
      • ‘A 1943 Morecambe transport bus ferried passengers from Lancaster to the port adding to the history of the weekend.’


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