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a. A vessel of considerable size for deep-water navigation.
b. A sailing vessel having three or more square-rigged masts.
2. An aircraft or spacecraft.
3. The crew of one of these vessels.
4. One's fortune: When my ship comes in, I'll move to a larger house.
v. shipped, ship·ping, ships
1. To place or receive on board a ship: shipped the cargo in the hold.
2. To cause to be transported; send. See Synonyms at send1.
3. To place (a ship's mast or rudder, for example) in its working position.
a. To bring into a ship or boat: ship an anchor.
b. To place (an oar) in a resting position inside a boat without removing it from the oarlock.
5. To hire (a person) for work on a ship.
6. To take in (water) over the side of a ship.
1. To go aboard a ship; embark.
2. To be sent as a delivery: The books that we ordered shipped from warehouse yesterday.
3. To travel by ship.
4. To hire oneself out or enlist for service on a ship.
Phrasal Verb:
ship out
1. To accept a position on board a ship and serve as a crew member: shipped out on a tanker.
2. To leave, as for a distant place: troops shipping out to the war zone.
3. To send, as to a distant place.
4. Informal To quit, resign from, or otherwise vacate a position: Shape up or ship out.
tight ship
A well-managed and efficient business, household, or organization: We run a tight ship.

[Middle English, from Old English scip.]

ship′pa·ble adj.


  • nauscopy - The ability to sight land or ships at a distance.
  • spring a leak - First referred to ships, describing the way the timbers sprang out of position and let in water.
  • square meal - May derive from the square platters used for serving meals on ships.
  • longshoremen - When sailors passed goods from the ships to men along the shore, those men came to be called longshoremen.


See also travel; vehicles

Law. an act of fraud by a master or crew at the expense of the owners of a ship or the owners of its cargo. Also spelled barretry. — barratrous, adj.
the pledging of a ship as security for a loan; if the ship is lost the debt is canceled.
the act of navigating or trading along a coast.
1. the delay of a ship at mooring beyond the time stipulated for unloading or other purposes.
2. the charge levied for such delay.
material floating on the sea, especially debris or goods from ship-wrecks. Cf. jetsam.
1. part of a ship’s cargo thrown overboard, as to lighten the load in the event of danger.
2. such cargo when it is washed ashore.
3. anything which is discarded. Cf. flotsam.
Obsolete, the skill or art of the pilot; pilotage.
Obsolete, a ship’s pilot.
a rhumb line or curve on the surface of a sphere intersecting all meridians at the same angle; hence, the course of a ship or aircraft following a constant compass direction. — loxodromic, adj.
the art, science, or practice of sailing obliquely across lines of longitude at a constant bearing to them. — loxodromic, adj.
1. a mock sea fight, as in ancient Rome.
2. the place where such fights were conducted.
Rare. an apparatus for measuring the inclination of a heeling or listing ship.
the art, sometimes pretended, of being able to sight ships or land at great distances.
an instrument for recording the vibrations of a steamship. — pallographic, adj.
the technique or practice of guiding ships by means of signal lights, as in lighthouses.
1. the act of piloting.
2. the skill or expertise of a pilot. See also dues and payment.
1. the embezzling of goods on board ship.
2. the goods embezzled.
permission given to a ship to do business with a port once quarantine and other regulations have been complied with.
1. the former privilege of the English monarch to receive two tuns of wine from every ship importing twenty tuns or more.
2. Also called butlerage. a duty of two shillings on every tun imported by foreign merchants.
3. (in England) the Crown’s share of merchandise seized lawfully as a prize at sea.
1. the recovery of a ship or its contents or cargo after damage or sinking.
2. the material recovered and the compensation to those who recover it.
3. the rescue and use of any found or discarded material.
the act of seizing neutral ships with government permission in time of war. See also church; theft.
References in classic literature ?
I hate tea and sild and spices, and every sort of rubbish his old ships bring, and I don't care how soon they go to the bottom when I own them.
When she and Robert stepped into Tonie's boat, with the red lateen sail, misty spirit forms were prowling in the shadows and among the reeds, and upon the water were phantom ships, speeding to cover.
Here, likewise -- the germ of the wrinkle-browed, grizzly-bearded, careworn merchant -- we have the smart young clerk, who gets the taste of traffic as a wolf-cub does of blood, and already sends adventures in his master's ships, when he had better be sailing mimic boats upon a mill-pond.
of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep.
And for years afterwards, perhaps, ships shun the place; leaping over it as silly sheep leap over a vacuum, because their leader originally leaped there when a stick was held.
But the real remained,--the real, like the flat, bare, oozy tide-mud, when the blue sparkling wave, with all its company of gliding boats and white-winged ships, its music of oars and chiming waters, has gone down, and there it lies, flat, slimy, bare,--exceedingly real.
Even down to my birth-century that poison was still in the blood of Christendom, and the best of English com- moners was still content to see his inferiors impudently continuing to hold a number of positions, such as lord- ships and the throne, to which the grotesque laws of his country did not allow him to aspire; in fact, he was not merely contented with this strange condition of things, he was even able to persuade himself that he was proud of it.
At night she carried a tiny lantern, so they should not miss her in the dark; and the people on the other ships that passed said that the light must be a shooting star.
They set the battle in array near the ships, and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod spears at one another.
Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept soundly, but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do honour to Achilles, and destroyed much people at the ships of the Achaeans.
But the expedition was unfortunate, most of the men and ships were lost, Sir Humphrey himself being drowned on his way home.
Many officers of ships can no doubt recall a case in their experience when just such a trance of confounded stoicism would come all at once over a whole ship's company.