What does word "shipping" mean? I've seen this word in many Internet shops.

3 Answers 3


There's two possible meaning in the context of an internet "shop":

  1. "Delivery" -- shipping is the cost that you have to pay in order to have the item sent to you via the postal service.

  2. "Completion" -- if you're developing software, then completing a version of the software and releasing it to customers is often referred to as "shipping". This is a reference to sense #1, going back to the day when a new software version had to be physically delivered to customers on disks.

  • 1
    Ad #1: or the process of delivery. Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 17:06
  • Considering the article that Orbling linked to in his answer, there seems to be a US/UK difference with your first definition. In the UK, the word shipping is not normally used to mean delivery in general. The word delivery is generally used.
    – Tristan r
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 10:42

The usual use of the word shipping on internet stores is for anything to do with packaging, dispatch and transport to your location.

Wikipedia has an article on it.

If it appears as a cost, on an invoice or bill, then it is the cost to package and deliver the goods.

If it is the name of a section, or used generally, then it can refer to any aspect of the process of getting the goods to the consumer.

The word obviously derives from the process of using a ship to transport goods, the present participle of the verb ship, in its meaning "to convey goods by water borne transport (a ship)".

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    I noticed in the article that you linked to, it says: The term Shipping originally referred to transport by sea, but is extended in American English to refer to transport by land or air. It does not refer to land or air transport, in England and the rest of the UK.
    – Tristan r
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 10:34
  • @Tristanr: We have historically not used the term for land nor air transport in the UK. But the US influence is extreme linguistically, particularly on the internet, and the common modern usage of shipping has come to mean the entire despatch process, or the payment of it. This has somewhat displaced the previously more common 'postage and packaging' (P&P) terminology that was standard in the early days of the internet in the UK and previously in all mail order enterprises. "Delivery" on its own is also used in this place, but shipping is common.
    – Orbling
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 23:06
  • That is very strange and not logical. This usage in the UK must be recent because, it's not in all cases.
    – Tristan r
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 16:31

In fan-fiction, shipping is also used as a verb form of the word "relationship".

name-shipping means to put name in a relationship with a different character.
(This is used for relationships that do not exist in the original work)

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