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.