Definition of vessel in English:



  • 1A ship or large boat.

    • ‘Finally, I saw on the horizon a large naval vessel.’
    • ‘Once the document was on the ship, the vessel was allowed to anchor.’
    • ‘In some parts of the world it is all too easy to board a merchant vessel unlawfully.’
    • ‘Since May, more than 98 vessels have been boarded for inspection.’
    • ‘In the right hands it is probably the most adaptable and seaworthy vessel afloat.’
    • ‘The bridge only opens with two keys, at the moment it is high and open, which would allow ships and other nautical vessels to pass beneath us.’
    • ‘In a lake about 11 miles long and under a mile at its widest, not only is there not much scope for a sea-going vessel but under sail these vessels pose some threat to smaller boats.’
    • ‘The typhoon, which sank 18 vessels and broke 13 container cranes at ports, has caused millions of pounds worth of damage so far.’
    • ‘Various factories in and near the harbour area specialize in keeping the extensive trawler fleet and other vessels seaworthy.’
    • ‘Small vessels (mostly motor boats) provide the sole means of transporting food and other goods utilized by the community.’
    • ‘Recent examples include photographing industrial plants, bridges, and vessels at sea.’
    • ‘Large merchant vessels have to slow down, making it easier for pirates to pursue their prey.’
    • ‘Forty tonnes of marine diesel are still thought to be on board the sunken vessel.’
    • ‘An intensive search for the vessel's mother ship was mounted but nothing found.’
    • ‘The survey was also very useful for targeting international yacht and domestic vessels to monitor quarantine compliance.’
    • ‘It would take him about 10 minutes to walk round the vessel and check the containers.’
    • ‘Over 60 volunteers braved the flood waters in canoes, boats and vessels of all shapes and sizes as the search continued yesterday.’
    • ‘It said about 35,409 ships and vessels have returned to ports.’
    • ‘Of those, 16 fishing vessels were detained and 113 written warnings issued for various offences.’
    • ‘Assisting a cargo vessel approach its berth she got into difficulties and capsized.’
    boat, sailing boat, ship, yacht, craft, watercraft
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  • 2A hollow container, especially one used to hold liquid, such as a bowl or cask.

    • ‘Once you decide on the drinking vessel (goblet, bowl, mug or stein), you need to get it from the shelves.’
    • ‘Officers found each of the vessels contained protected fish.’
    • ‘The refilling vessel contains liquid water and gas.’
    • ‘Big punch bowls make supersize serving vessels.’
    • ‘He knew he should have immediately collected the spilled magic and contained it in a vessel for later use.’
    • ‘Five of the vessels from four burials contain clay residues, suggesting that pigments had been stored in them when they were placed in the graves.’
    • ‘Proceeds are earmarked for vessels and containers, and to repay loans.’
    • ‘In Scandinavia many bowls and cooking vessels have been found carved from soapstone, or steatite, a mineral that is very heat tolerant.’
    • ‘For a start, we know next to nothing about what ceramic vessels contained.’
    • ‘It took little more than a minute before all of the creature was contained in the little vessel.’
    • ‘The most common form of vessels were cups, bowls or jugs used for storage of liquid or dry consumer goods.’
    • ‘Two landmines went off in our faces, drenching us both with warm milk, the pressure too much to be contained in the transparent vessels before us.’
    • ‘Besides, the distribution of the carbon was uneven, and vessels with large quantities alternated with vessels which contained very little carbon or none.’
    • ‘In front of the statue and behind the platform is a huge vessel that contained oil to light a so-called ‘Everlasting Lamp’.’
    • ‘Rugs, throws, wall hangings, vessels and bowls, scarves and brooches are all included.’
    • ‘It can only obtain a liquid state under very high pressure in a containment vessel.’
    • ‘Glass containers, ceramic vessels and galvanised cans brimming with an array of cacti, gerbera and orchids are available for your mum's Mother's Day delectation.’
    • ‘Our descent into hell was caused by a bolt of lightening striking, with unerring accuracy, a vessel which contained a chemical that doesn't get on well with sources of ignition.’
    • ‘Hundreds of years later, glass vessels were shaped to contain water, perfumes, and other liquids and items.’
    • ‘When the glass had cooled, the clay/sand model was carefully scraped out of the container, leaving the hollow glass vessel.’
    container, receptacle, repository, holder, carrier
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    1. 2.1(chiefly in or alluding to biblical use) a person, especially regarded as holding or embodying a particular quality.
      ‘giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel’
      • ‘I care not for weakness if you say that I am not enough of a vessel to contain you.’
      • ‘It's not the gospel that is so fragile but we, the vessels - and it's OK for us to be fragile, to be weak and sinful, to be utterly human.’
      • ‘We need to remember that God puts the treasure of his gospel in earthen vessels.’
      • ‘They were ‘servants’ and ‘instruments’ as well as passive vessels in contemplation.’
      • ‘Yes, the vessels are quite different; we are of various cultures, languages, colors, and races.’
  • 3Anatomy Zoology
    A duct or canal holding or conveying blood or other fluid.

    See also blood vessel
    • ‘These help constrict dilated vessels of the nose and help water eyes.’
    • ‘Some strokes are due to a bleed from a vessel in the brain rather than a clot.’
    • ‘They also have a similarity to the small blood vessels damaged in long-standing diabetes.’
    • ‘And consuming too much alcohol also can dilate the blood vessels in the skin, giving it a reddish hue.’
    • ‘For each examined sample, the entire thickness of the vessel wall was imaged.’
    duct, tube, channel, passage, pipe
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    1. 3.1Botany Any of the tubular structures in the vascular system of a plant, serving to conduct water and mineral nutrients from the root.
      • ‘The fungus plugs up the tree's vascular system, the collection of tiny vessels that transports water and nutrients to the plant cells.’
      • ‘There was no movement of dye between them, indicating that vessels did not criss-cross between adjacent vascular bundles.’
      • ‘Throughout most of the day, when the plant is transpiring, these vessels will contain water under substantial hydraulic tension.’
      • ‘In the roots one part may be deposited in the tissue and another part recirculated to the xylem vessels.’
      • ‘The finely porous membranes are designed to allow the flow of water between adjacent vessels while preventing the passage of gas bubbles and pathogens.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French vessel(e), from late Latin vascellum, diminutive of vas vessel.