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a native English suffix of nouns denoting condition, character, office, skill, etc.:
clerkship; friendship; statesmanship.
Origin of -ship
Middle English, Old English -scipe; akin to shape; cognate with dialectal Frisian, dialectal Dutch schip Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for -ship


indicating state or condition: fellowship
indicating rank, office, or position: lordship
indicating craft or skill: horsemanship, workmanship, scholarship
Word Origin
Old English -scipe; compare shape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for -ship

word-forming element meaning "quality, condition; act, power, skill; office, position; relation between," Middle English -schipe, from Old English -sciepe, Anglian -scip "state, condition of being," from Proto-Germanic *-skapaz (cf. Old Norse -skapr, Danish -skab, Old Frisian -skip, Dutch -schap, German -schaft), from *skap- "to create, ordain, appoint," from PIE root *(s)kep- (see shape (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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