What do a canoe, a soda can, and your arteries have in common? Each one is a type of vessel. A vessel can be a ship, a container for holding liquids, or a tube that transports blood throughout your body.

Vessel has a number of different meanings, yet all of them relate in some way to liquids and transportation. This relationship in meaning has existed in language for a long time; the word vessel comes from the Latin word, vascellum, which also means both “vase” and “ship.” The use of the word vessel in reference to “blood vessels” came about in English during the 14th century.

Definitions of vessel

n an object used as a container (especially for liquids)

a commercial aquarium featuring trained dolphins
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autoclave, steriliser, sterilizer
a device for heating substances above their boiling point; used to manufacture chemicals or to sterilize surgical instruments
barrel, cask
a cylindrical container that holds liquids
a bowl-shaped vessel; usually used for holding food or liquids
a vessel containing liquid in which something is immersed (as to process it or to maintain it at a constant temperature or to lubricate it)
bath, bathing tub, bathtub, tub
a relatively large open container that you fill with water and use to wash the body
a shallow vessel used by a bedridden patient for defecation and urination
boiler, steam boiler
sealed vessel where water is converted to steam
bone-ash cup, cupel, refractory pot
a small porous bowl made of bone ash used in assaying to separate precious metals from e.g. lead
a glass or plastic vessel used for storing drinks or other liquids; typically cylindrical without handles and with a narrow neck that can be plugged or capped
bottle, feeding bottle, nursing bottle
a vessel fitted with a flexible teat and filled with milk or formula; used as a substitute for breast feeding infants and very young children
a round vessel that is open at the top; used chiefly for holding food or liquids;
bucket, pail
a roughly cylindrical vessel that is open at the top
censer, thurible
a container for burning incense (especially one that is swung on a chain in a religious ritual)
butter churn, churn
a vessel in which cream is agitated to separate butterfat from buttermilk
crucible, melting pot
a vessel made of material that does not melt easily; used for high temperature chemical reactions
drinking vessel
a vessel intended for drinking
drum, metal drum
a cylindrical metal container used for shipping or storage of liquids
eye cup, eyebath, eyecup
a small vessel with a rim curved to fit the orbit of the eye; use to apply medicated or cleansing solution to the eyeball
a large metal or pottery vessel with a handle and spout; used to hold alcoholic beverages (usually wine)
a vessel (usually cylindrical) with a wide mouth and without handles
a spoon-shaped vessel with a long handle; frequently used to transfer liquids from one container to another
monstrance, ostensorium
(Roman Catholic Church) a vessel (usually of gold or silver) in which the consecrated Host is exposed for adoration
a bowl-shaped vessel in which substances can be ground and mixed with a pestle
a vessel in which wine is mulled
ewer, pitcher
an open vessel with a handle and a spout for pouring
a cooking vessel designed to poach food (such as fish or eggs)
metal or earthenware cooking vessel that is usually round and deep; often has a handle and lid
a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
a vessel (usually a pot or vat) used for steeping
storage tank, tank
a large (usually metallic) vessel for holding gases or liquids
a vessel (box, can, pan, etc.) made of tinplate and used mainly in baking
tub, vat
a large open vessel for holding or storing liquids
a vessel that holds water for washing the hands
water jacket
a container filled with water that surrounds a machine to cool it; especially that surrounding the cylinder block of an engine
a cavity or vessel used to contain liquid
an obsolete kind of container used for distillation; two retorts connected by a tube
an ancient jar with two handles and a narrow neck; used to hold oil or wine
aquarium, fish tank, marine museum
a tank or pool or bowl filled with water for keeping live fish and underwater animals
the basin or other vessel that holds holy water in Roman Catholic Churches
auxiliary boiler, donkey boiler
(nautical) an extra boiler (as a ship's boiler that is used while the ship is in port)
baptismal font, baptistery, baptistry, font
bowl for baptismal water
a flatbottomed jar made of glass or plastic; used for chemistry
beer barrel, beer keg
a barrel that holds beer
beer bottle
a bottle that holds beer
a basin for washing genitals and anal area
an ornamental basin (usually in a garden) for birds to bathe in
a large cask (especially one holding a volume equivalent to 2 hogsheads or 126 gallons)
caldron, cauldron
a very large pot that is used for boiling
a wooden bucket
canopic jar, canopic vase
a jar used in ancient Egypt to contain entrails of an embalmed body
carafe, decanter
a bottle with a stopper; for serving wine or water
a large bottle for holding corrosive liquids; usually cushioned in a special container
catsup bottle, ketchup bottle
a bottle that holds catsup
cistern, water tank
a tank that holds the water used to flush a toilet
tall pot in which coffee is brewed
cookie jar, cooky jar
a jar in which cookies are kept (and sometimes money is hidden)
cream pitcher, creamer
a small pitcher for serving cream
crock, earthenware jar
an earthen jar (made of baked clay)
crewet, cruet
bottle that holds wine or oil or vinegar for the table
small jar; holds liquid (oil or water)
large bottle with a short narrow neck; often has small handles at neck and is enclosed in wickerwork
autoclave consisting of a vessel in which plant or animal materials are digested
dinner bucket, dinner pail
a pail in which a workman carries his lunch or dinner
a ladle that has a cup with a long handle
a large metal pot (12 gallon camp kettle) for cooking; used in military camps
dredging bucket
a bucket for lifting material from a channel or riverbed
Dutch oven
iron or earthenware cooking pot; used for stews
emesis basin
a basin used by bedridden patients for vomiting
fish bowl, fishbowl, goldfish bowl
a transparent bowl in which small fish are kept
bottle that has a narrow neck
a small bathtub for warming or washing or disinfecting the feet
gas holder, gasometer
a large gas-tight spherical or cylindrical tank for holding gas to be used as fuel
gas tank, gasoline tank, petrol tank
a tank for holding gasoline to supply a vehicle
calabash, gourd
bottle made from the dried shell of a bottle gourd
a large cask especially one holding 63 gals
hot tub
a very large tub (large enough for more than one bather) filled with hot water
ink bottle, inkpot
a bottle of ink
inkstand, inkwell
a small well holding writing ink into which a pen can be dipped
jamjar, jampot
a jar for holding jellies or preserves
a large drinking bowl
a large bottle with a narrow mouth
small cask or barrel
boiler, kettle
a metal pot for stewing or boiling; usually has a lid
an iron bucket used for hoisting in wells or mining
(Old Testament) large basin used by a priest in an ancient Jewish temple to perform ritual ablutions
loving cup
a large drinking vessel (usually with two handles) that people drink out of in turn at a banquet
a large pot especially one with legs used e.g. for cooking soup
Mason jar
a glass jar with an air-tight screw top; used in home canning
a large hardwood drinking bowl
with handle and usually cylindrical
ampoule, ampul, ampule, phial, vial
a small bottle that contains a drug (especially a sealed sterile container for injection by needle)
pickle barrel
a barrel holding vinegar in which cucumbers are pickled
pill bottle
a small bottle for holding pills
pop bottle, soda bottle
a bottle for holding soft drinks
a pot that holds 2 quarts
pressure cooker
autoclave for cooking at temperatures above the boiling point of water
tank used for collecting and storing a liquid (as water or oil)
a cooking pot that has handles on either side and tight fitting lid; used for stewing or boiling
a large ladle
septic tank
large tank where solid matter or sewage is disintegrated by bacteria
a disassembled barrel; the parts packed for storage or shipment
hip bath, sitz bath
a bathtub in which your buttocks and hips are immersed as if you were sitting in a chair and you bathe in a sitting position
slop jar, slop pail
a large pail used to receive waste water from a washbasin or chamber pot
smelling bottle
a bottle containing smelling salts
soup ladle
a ladle for serving soup
specimen bottle
a bottle for holding urine specimens
a pot used for preparing soup stock
stoop, stoup
basin for holy water
an archaic drinking vessel
large drinking vessel with one handle
pot for brewing tea; usually has a spout and handle
toilet bowl
the bowl of a toilet that can be flushed with water
a large cask especially one holding a volume equivalent to 2 butts or 252 gals
a large pot for making coffee or tea
an open jar of glass or porcelain used as an ornament or to hold flowers
handbasin, lavabo, wash-hand basin, washbasin, washbowl
a basin for washing the hands (`wash-hand basin' is a British expression)
a tub in which clothes or linens can be washed
water bottle
a bottle for holding water
hot-water heater, hot-water tank, water heater
a heater and storage tank to supply heated water
whiskey bottle
a bottle for holding whiskey
wine bottle
a bottle for holding wine
wine bucket, wine cooler
a bucket of ice used to chill a bottle of wine
wine barrel, wine cask
a barrel that holds wine
Type of:
any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)

n a tube in which a body fluid circulates

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blood vessel
a vessel in which blood circulates
arteria, arterial blood vessel, artery
a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body
ductus arteriosus
a blood vessel in a fetus that bypasses pulmonary circulation by connecting the pulmonary artery directly to the ascending aorta; normally closes at birth
vasa vasorum
any small blood vessel ramifying on the outside of a major artery or vein
vein, vena, venous blood vessel
a blood vessel that carries blood from the capillaries toward the heart
capillary, capillary vessel
any of the minute blood vessels connecting arterioles with venules
Type of:
tube, tube-shaped structure
(anatomy) any hollow cylindrical body structure

n a craft designed for water transportation

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an ironclad vessel built by the Confederate forces in the hope of breaking the blockade imposed by the North
an ironclad vessel built by Federal forces to do battle with the Merrimac
H.M.S. Bounty
a ship of the British navy; in 1789 part of the crew mutinied against their commander William Bligh and set him afloat in an open boat
the ship in which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from England to Massachusetts in 1620
USS Cole
a United States destroyer
Old Ironsides
a United States 44-gun frigate that was one of the first three naval ships built by the United States; it won brilliant victories over British frigates during the War of 1812 and is without doubt the most famous ship in the history of the United States Navy; it has been rebuilt and is anchored in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston
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a vessel (such as a yacht) that can be chartered without a captain or crew or provisions
a small vessel for travel on water
fishing boat, fishing smack, fishing vessel
a vessel for fishing; often has a well to keep the catch alive
(classical antiquity) a crescent-shaped seagoing vessel propelled by oars
a large medieval vessel with a single deck propelled by sails and oars with guns at stern and prow; a complement of 1,000 men; used mainly in the Mediterranean for war and trading
ice yacht, iceboat, scooter
a sailing vessel with runners and a cross-shaped frame; suitable for traveling over ice
patrol boat, patrol ship
a vessel assigned to patrol an area
sailing ship, sailing vessel
a vessel that is powered by the wind; often having several masts
a vessel that carries passengers or freight
a vessel engaged in shrimping
weather ship
an oceangoing vessel equipped to make meteorological observations
racing yacht, yacht
an expensive vessel propelled by sail or power and used for cruising or racing
abandoned ship, derelict
a ship abandoned on the high seas
a boat built by Noah to save his family and animals from the flood
barge, flatboat, hoy, lighter
a flatbottom boat for carrying heavy loads (especially on canals)
bark, barque
a sailing ship with 3 (or more) masts
a ship that runs through or around a naval blockade
two-masted sailing vessel square-rigged on both masts
brigantine, hermaphrodite brig
two-masted sailing vessel square-rigged on the foremast and fore-and-aft rigged on the mainmast
a small boat that ferries supplies and commodities for sale to a larger ship at anchor
canal boat, narrow boat, narrowboat
a long boat that carries freight and is narrow enough to be used in canals
cargo ship, cargo vessel
a ship designed to carry cargo
clipper, clipper ship
a fast sailing ship used in former times
a sailing vessel with a single mast set further back than the mast of a sloop
a lateen-rigged sailing vessel used by Arabs
a fast narrow sailing ship of the Mediterranean
ferry, ferryboat
a boat that transports people or vehicles across a body of water and operates on a regular schedule
a boat equipped to fight fires on ships or along a waterfront
the ship that carries the commander of a fleet and flies his flag
sailing vessel with a fore-and-aft rig
a large square-rigged sailing ship with three or more masts; used by the Spanish for commerce and war from the 15th to 18th centuries
gas-turbine ship
a ship powered by a gas turbine
long narrow flat-bottomed boat propelled by sculling; traditionally used on canals of Venice
guard boat
a boat that is on guard duty (as in a harbor) around a fleet of warships
a small shallow-draft boat carrying mounted guns; used by costal patrols
hospital ship
a ship built to serve as a hospital; used for wounded in wartime
a ship that has been wrecked and abandoned
iceboat, icebreaker
a ship with a reinforced bow to break up ice and keep channels open for navigation
a large sailing ship that was engaged in the British trade with India
any of various Chinese boats with a high poop and lugsails
a sailing vessel with two masts; the mizzen is forward of the rudderpost
a ship equipped like a lighthouse and anchored where a permanent lighthouse would be impracticable
the largest boat carried by a merchant sailing vessel
small fishing boat rigged with one or more lugsails
Mackinaw boat, mackinaw
a flat-bottomed boat used on upper Great Lakes
mail boat, mailboat, packet, packet boat
a boat for carrying mail
ship equipped for laying marine mines
ship equipped to detect and then destroy or neutralize or remove marine mines
motorboat, powerboat
a boat propelled by an internal-combustion engine
nuclear-powered ship
ship whose motive power comes from the energy of a nuclear reactor
passenger ship
a ship built to carry passengers
pilot boat
a boat to carry pilots to and from large ships
pirate, pirate ship
a ship that is manned by pirates
police boat
a boat used by harbor police
an open flat-bottomed boat used in shallow waters and propelled by a long pole
a sailing vessel with a specified rig
river boat
a boat used on rivers or to ply a river
sailboat, sailing boat
a small sailing vessel; usually with a single mast
school ship, training ship
a ship used to train students as sailors
sailing vessel used in former times
any of various flat-bottomed boats with sloping ends
sea boat
a boat that is seaworthy; that is adapted to the open seas
a wrecked ship (or a part of one)
sister ship
a ship that is one of two or more similar ships built at the same time
slave ship
a ship used to transport slaves from their homes to places of bondage
a sailing vessel with a single mast set about one third of the boat's length aft of the bow
a sailing ship (usually rigged like a sloop or cutter) used in fishing and sailing along the coast
small boat
a boat that is small
small ship
a ship that is small
a square-rigged sailing ship
a boat propelled by a steam engine
steamer, steamship
a ship powered by one or more steam engines
a boat that can be launched or landed in heavy surf
supply ship, tender
ship that usually provides supplies to other ships
cutter, pinnace, ship's boat, tender
a boat for communication between ship and shore
any ship having three decks
transport ship
a ship for carrying soldiers or military equipment
dragger, trawler
a fishing boat that uses a trawl net or dragnet to catch fish
treasure ship
a 16th-century ship loaded with treasure
ancient Greek or Roman galley or warship having three tiers of oars on each side
ship for transporting troops
towboat, tower, tug, tugboat
a powerful small boat designed to pull or push larger ships
combat ship, war vessel, warship
a government ship that is available for waging war
whaler, whaling ship
a ship engaged in whale fishing
a large sailing ship
a ship that has been destroyed at sea
dandy, yawl
a sailing vessel with two masts; a small mizzen is aft of the rudderpost
Type of:
a vehicle designed for navigation in or on water or air or through outer space