Not only did the Oxford English Dictionary add the verb “ship” in its quarterly update, their definition is spot-on; that's exactly how we've been using it since June of 2001. For some reason, though, we didn't include it in our 2002 glossary - possibly because we had already posted the definition in a pinned post in SCUSA.
Shipping is a general term for emotional and/or intellectual involvement with the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction. Shipping can involve virtually any kind of relationship from the well-known and established, through the ambiguous or those undergoing development, and even all the way to the highly improbable and the blatantly impossible. People involved in shipping (aka shippers) assert that the relationship does exist, will exist, or simply that they would like it to exist.We also note their use of lines from Dido's White Flag in their headline; at least three fics on FA use those lyrics:
- White Flag by Magick (Harry/Ginny)
- White Flag by Alohomora (Harry/Ginny)
- Wedding Day by LoonyLoopyLuna (Harry, Ginny, Draco)
It's interesting that the OED blog chose to illustrate it with Sherlock/Molly, which implies to us that whoever wrote that page is versed in the ways of fandom. It's inherently meta, as an example, because many view the BBC Sherlock as fanfic (or a fanfilm) of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, which means that Sherlock/Molly is in and of itself a fan-created ship that is canon in one version of Sherlock fanworks, and is both an on-screen romance in The Empty Hearse but also not an on-screen romance in said episode as it’s only visually included in a story being told by a character.
In other words, kudos to you, OED, for including a fannish term, giving the fannish etymology, and wrapping the whole thing up in a perfect storm of English-story-centric meta.
How would you have defined it?