Shipping – Not just for Post Offices These Days

Perhaps you are like the tweeter below and find yourself befuddled of late by the phrase “shipping” that is circulating in a whole new way.

shipping tweets?


You’d better get ready, because when it comes to shipping, there’s a whole new boat we’re talking about, and it’s your own personal cruise-ship of loooooove.

Yeah, you heard me, and no, I’m not talking about human trafficking, which is horrible – shame on you for even thinking that.  Actually there’s a new phrase on the street in high school internet-speak these days, and I, inhabiting the front lines like I do, have decided to enlighten others who might not be so fortunate as to spend their days in a high school. It’s a constantly changing world out there, and not everybody can stay up to date with crazy kids and their new-fangled lingo. We’ve talked about the somewhat-endearing internet phenomena of ermahgerd and the ensuing ridiculousness resulting from that series of memes. Well, there’s some emerging terminology I learned this month, and it is a new use for a verb thats been around for a long time. What verb, might you ask?


This is a word you might associate with post offices, paypal, and old fashioned boats, yes? These are the only meanings, right?

shipping labels





To give you the short explanation, this new meaning comes from the world of fandom. In particular from the world of fanfic. When lots of people love a television show or a book, they get attached to characters, right? Well, sometimes, when they get seriously attached, they imagine alternative scenarios for their favorites, particularly alternative romantic pairings. They picture what it would look like for Éowyn to end up with Aragorn, for Damon to end up with Bonnie, for Katniss to end up with Haymitch, for Sherlock to end up with Mrs. Hudson, for Ginny to end up with . . . Snape. That’s right, sometimes when you ship, lines are crossed. But that’s the thing. With shipping, there are no rules.



The characters you pair could be arch-enemies, they could even be from different species. . . To “ship” two characters is simply to put them together in a potential romantic pairing in which they are not usually placed. It’s a way of playing out reader fantasies that will never come to life in the hands of the author.

Some examples of this verb in use?

Situation 1: Somebody reading The Hunger Games for the first time 

“Haymitch and Effie? Oh man, I ship them so hard.”

Situation #2: Chatting Television Shows

Person 1: I love watching Once Upon a Time. . . I’m obsessed?

Person 2: Zounds, as am I!!! I’m obsessed – Who do you ship in that show?

Situation #3: People obsessed with the BBC’s show Sherlock – aka the best show ever to be created.

Person 1: Oh man, I just realized I ship Sherlock with, like, almost every other character on that show!

Person 2: Yeah, but John is totally his OTP, right?

Now, this leads us to a second term we need to discuss, because it’s a subcategory of Ships;

The OTP.

OTP stands for One True Pairing. . .  meaning the ideal romantic match of two characters. This refers to a fanfic author’s ideal pairing of characters. An OTP is the highest level of Ship – a person’s ideal, rather than just a dabbled idea.

Lets take a look at someone’s example of a ship diagram:



See how it works?

Anyhow, this is one of my original resources for learning about shipping. . . in case you want to check it out!

I hope you found this all enlightening! There’s nothing quite like learning a new widely-accepted misuse of the English Language, right?

Published by Abby

Dabbling in decoratives is an ongoing obsession. I love having a go at This, That and the Other. . . tackling projects that tickle my fancy, hoarding costumes (for the "Someday" that I own a dress-up tea-house for grown-ups) and hosting themed parties whenever I am not immersed in teaching French and Writing to high school students. In the interest of full transparency, there's something serious you should know: I overuse the ellipsis . . . frequently. Embarassingly enough, it seems to be the punctuation that best captures my stream of thought as it flits off of one subject and towards the next!

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