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
  1. noun
    an object used as a container (especially for liquids)
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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
    a 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)
  2. noun
    a tube in which a body fluid circulates
    synonyms: vas
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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
  3. noun
    a craft designed for water transportation
    synonyms: watercraft
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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
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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 in the Indian Ocean
    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
    a small, light ship with lateen sails and two to four masts; used by Spanish and Portuguese sailors in the 15th and 16th centuries
    type of:
    a vehicle designed for navigation in or on water or air or through outer space
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