from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A hollow utensil, such as a cup, vase, or pitcher, used as a container, especially for liquids.
  • noun Nautical A craft, especially one larger than a rowboat, designed to navigate on water.
  • noun An airship.
  • noun Anatomy A duct, canal, or other tube that contains or conveys a body fluid.
  • noun Botany One of the tubular water-conducting structures of xylem, consisting of a series of vessel elements attached end to end and connected by perforations. Vessels are found in nearly all flowering plants.
  • noun A person seen as the agent or embodiment, as of a quality.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A utensil for holding liquors and other things, as a cask, a barrel, a bottle, a kettle, a pot, a cup, or a dish.
  • noun Specifically, In metallurgy, the converter in which Bessemer steel is made. See steel.
  • noun A ship; a craft of any kind: usually a larger craft than a boat, but in law often construed to mean any floating structure.
  • noun In anatomy and zoology, any duct or canal in which a fluid, as blood or lymph, is secreted, contained, or conveyed, as an artery, vein, capillary, lymphatic, or spermatic; especially, a blood-vessel. A part or organ pervaded or well provided with vessels is said to be vascular.
  • noun In botany, same as duct—that is, a row of cells which have lost their intervening partitions, and consequently form a long continuous canal.
  • noun Figuratively, something conceived as formed to receive or contain; hence, especially in Scriptural phraseology, a person into whom anything is conceived as poured or infused, or to whom something has been imparted; a recipient.
  • noun Vessels collectively; plate.
  • noun See the adjectives.
  • To put into a vessel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To put into a vessel.
  • noun A hollow or concave utensil for holding anything; a hollow receptacle of any kind, as a hogshead, a barrel, a firkin, a bottle, a kettle, a cup, a bowl, etc.
  • noun A general name for any hollow structure made to float upon the water for purposes of navigation; especially, one that is larger than a common rowboat
  • noun Fig.: A person regarded as receiving or containing something; esp. (Script.), one into whom something is conceived as poured, or in whom something is stored for use.
  • noun (Anat.) Any tube or canal in which the blood or other fluids are contained, secreted, or circulated, as the arteries, veins, lymphatics, etc.
  • noun (Bot.) A continuous tube formed from superposed large cylindrical or prismatic cells (tracheæ), which have lost their intervening partitions, and are usually marked with dots, pits, rings, or spirals by internal deposition of secondary membranes; a duct.
  • noun See under Acoustic.
  • noun a woman; -- now applied humorously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun nautical A general term for all kinds of craft designed for transportation on water, such as ships or boats.
  • noun A container of liquid, such as a glass, goblet, cup, bottle, bowl, or pitcher
  • noun A person as a container of qualities or feelings.
  • noun biology A tube or canal that carries fluid in an animal or plant.
  • verb obsolete, transitive To put into a vessel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a craft designed for water transportation
  • noun an object used as a container (especially for liquids)
  • noun a tube in which a body fluid circulates


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin vāscellum, diminutive of Latin vāsculum, diminutive of vās, vessel.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French vaissel, from Latin vāscellum, diminutive of vāsculum, diminutive of vās ("vessel").


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  • It may be necessary to explain to the uninitiated reader that the terms "he" and "she" are indifferently used at sea, in reference to craft, but when the masculine pronoun is applied it is understood to refer more especially to the _commanding officer_ of the vessel; while the pronoun "she" refers to the _vessel herself_.

    Under the Meteor Flag Log of a Midshipman during the French Revolutionary War Harry Collingwood 1886

  • In "Container Ship," the title vessel drifts out of the mist: "I wonder if it has a dance band," Mr. Felice asks.

    'Hopefully, the Songs Are Allegorical' Jim Fusilli 2011

  • Such a vessel is our Huntress, built at your Cousin Martin's instigation and launched at the moment when our fortunes were at their lowest ebb.

    The Windy Hill 1922

  • At each end of the vessel is a raised deck, forming tolerably commodious quarters for officers and men; and the forecastle is made to carry one or two heavy guns.

    Her Majesty's Ship Majestic Keeping Watch over the Steam-Rams in the Mersey. 1863

  • Gaga called into KIIS FM's On Air with Ryan Seacrest today and laid one heckuva revelation on us: She spent 72 hours in her egg, which she calls a "vessel," prior to bursting out at the Grammys. | Top Stories 2011

  • Also, HNA's shipping unit Grand China Logistics has come under fire recently for delaying or avoiding payments on long-term vessel charters.

    China's HNA Looks Abroad for Deals Dinny McMahon 2011

  • Have you ever tried coming up the side of a large vessel from a much smaller one?

    The Volokh Conspiracy » More on Israeli Incompetence 2010

  • So if a Turkish vessel is attacked by Israelis or anyone else in the Mediterranean, I guess the treaty could be triggered.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Let Turkey Have Gaza 2010

  • “Here ends their history. except that they are taken out again when the vessel is ready to go home, beaten, stowed away on board, carried to Boston, tanned, made into shoes and other articles…

    Richard Henry Dana 2010

  • The vessel is Eliza Dushku as Echo, who lives with the other "actives" in a spa-like "dollhouse" where they wait for a geek genius (Fran Kranz, more annoying than amusing) to implant them.

    Fox's 'Dollhouse' is its own worst enemy 2009


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