a vessel, especially a large oceangoing one propelled by sails or engines.
a sailing vessel square-rigged on all of three or more masts, having jibs, staysails, and a spanker on the aftermost mast.
Now Rare. a bark having more than three masts. Compare shipentine.
the crew and, sometimes, the passengers of a vessel: The captain gave the ship shore leave.
an airship, airplane, or spacecraft.
verb (used with object), shipped, shipping.
to put or take on board a ship or other means of transportation; to send or transport by ship, rail, truck, plane, etc.
Nautical. to take in (water) over the side, as a vessel does when waves break over it.
to bring (an object) into a ship or boat.
to engage (someone) for service on a ship.
to fix in a ship or boat in the proper place for use.
to place (an oar) in proper position for rowing. Compare boat ( def 10 ).
to send away: They shipped the kids off to camp for the summer.
verb (used without object), shipped, shipping.
to go on board or travel by ship; embark.
to engage to serve on a ship.
Verb phrases
ship out,
to leave, especially for another country or assignment: He said goodby to his family and shipped out for the West Indies.
to send away, especially to another country or assignment.
Informal. to quit, resign, or be fired from a job: Shape up or ship out!
jump ship,
to escape from a ship, especially one in foreign waters or a foreign port, as to avoid further service as a sailor or to request political asylum.
to withdraw support or membership from a group, organization, cause, etc.; defect or desert: Some of the more liberal members have jumped ship.
run a tight ship, to exercise a close, strict control over a ship's crew, a company, organization, or the like.
when one's ship comes in/home, when one's fortune is assured: She'll buy a car as soon as her ship comes in.

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English scip; cognate with Dutch schip, German Schiff, Old Norse, Gothic skip; (v.) Middle English s(c)hip(p)en, derivative of the noun

shipless, adjective
shiplessly, adverb
misship, verb, misshipped, misshipping.
preship, verb (used with object), preshipped, preshipping.

barge, boat, canoe, cruise ship, sailboat, ship, yacht. Unabridged


a native English suffix of nouns denoting condition, character, office, skill, etc.: clerkship; friendship; statesmanship.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ship (ʃɪp)
1.  a vessel propelled by engines or sails for navigating on the water, esp a large vessel that cannot be carried aboard another, as distinguished from a boat
2.  nautical a large sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts
3.  the crew of a ship
4.  airship short for spaceship
5.  informal any vehicle or conveyance
6.  when one's ship comes in when one has become successful or wealthy
vb (often foll by off) , ships, shipping, shipped
7.  to place, transport, or travel on any conveyance, esp aboard a ship: ship the microscopes by aeroplane; can we ship tomorrow?
8.  (tr) nautical to take (water) over the side
9.  to bring or go aboard a vessel: to ship oars
10.  informal to send away, often in order to be rid of: they shipped the children off to boarding school
11.  (intr) to engage to serve aboard a ship: I shipped aboard a Liverpool liner
12.  informal (tr) to concede (a goal): Celtic have shipped eight goals in three away matches
[Old English scip; related to Old Norse skip, Old High German skif ship, scipfī cup]

suffix forming nouns
1.  indicating state or condition: fellowship
2.  indicating rank, office, or position: lordship
3.  indicating craft or skill: horsemanship; workmanship; scholarship
[Old English -scipe; compare shape]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. -sciepe, Anglian -scip "state, condition of being," from P.Gmc. *-skapaz (cf. O.N. -skapr, O.Fris. -skip, Du. -schap, Ger. -schaft), from base *skap- "to create, ordain, appoint." Cognate with O.E. gesceape (see shape).

O.E. scip "ship, boat," from P.Gmc. *skipan (cf. O.N., O.S., Goth. skip, Dan. skib, Swed. skepp, M.Du. scip, Du. schip, O.H.G. skif, Ger. Schiff), perhaps originally "tree cut out or hollowed out," and derived from PIE base *skei- "to cut, split." The O.E. word was used for small craft as well; in 19c.,
distinct from a boat in having a bowsprit and three masts, each with a lower, top, and topgallant mast. Fr. esquif, It. schifo are Gmc. loan-words. Ship-board "side of a ship" is from c.1200. Ship-shape "properly arranged" first attested 1644. Phrase ships that pass in the night is from Longfellow's poem "Aftermath" (1873). Phrase runs a tight ship is attested from 1971.

c.1300, "to send or transport by ship," from ship (n.). Transf. to other means of conveyance (railroad, etc.) from 1857, originally Amer.Eng. Shipment "that which is shipped" is from 1861.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with ship, also see desert a sinking ship; enough to sink a ship; shape up (or ship out); tight ship; when one's ship comes in.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Send it out to sea in search of a humanitarian aid ship to destroy.
If they want their jobs to survive, they have to be the kind of people who'll
  be hauled back onto the ship.
Software firms prefer to bash out code and then try to catch as many bugs as
  possible while racing to ship the product.
Ship traffic, seismic tests and sonar pings can make navigating the seas tricky
  for whales.
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