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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 ?
Do you know, sir," said he, "the town of Cambodia lies about fifteen leagues up the river; and there are two large English ships about five leagues on this side, and three Dutch?
This is the sum of the story, and you will all be seized as pirates, I can assure you, and executed with very little ceremony; for you know merchant ships show but little law to pirates if they get them into their power.
But the expedition was unfortunate, most of the men and ships were lost, Sir Humphrey himself being drowned on his way home.
This time it was to the land south of Newfoundland that the ships took their way.
It was a Nantucket ship, the Bachelor, which had just wedged in her last cask of oil, and bolted down her bursting hatches; and now, in glad holiday apparel, was joyously, though somewhat vain-gloriously, sailing round among the widely-separated ships on the ground, previous to pointing her prow for home.
Come along, will ye (merry's the play); a full ship and homeward-bound.
A ship may have left her port some time before; she may have been at sea, in the fullest sense of the phrase, for days; but, for all that, as long as the coast she was about to leave remained in sight, a southern-going ship of yesterday had not in the sailor's sense begun the enterprise of a passage.
It is not the ship that takes her departure; the seaman takes his Departure by means of cross-bearings which fix the place of the first tiny pencil-cross on the white expanse of the track-chart, where the ship's position at noon shall be marked by just such another tiny pencil cross for every day of her passage.
SAILING homeward, the Doctor's ship had to pass the coast of Barbary.
When they caught a boat like this at sea, they would steal everything on it; and after they had taken the people off they would sink the ship and sail back to Barbary singing songs and feeling proud of the mischief they had done.
Now, one day it was announced in the village that the King had issued a decree, offering his daughter, the Princess, in marriage to whoever should build a ship that could fly.
The wind was fresh and fair from the southwest, and the ship was soon out of sight of land and free from the apprehended danger of interruption.