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Brig vs. Ship: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 29, 2023
A brig is a specific type of sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts or a ship's jail. A ship is a large watercraft designed for long-distance travel, cargo, or passenger transport, and can include various types of vessels.

Key Differences

A brig is a type of sailing vessel characterized by its two square-rigged masts. In contrast, the term ship is more general and can refer to a wide range of watercraft, from small boats to massive cargo carriers.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
In nautical terminology, a brig is a specific designation that informs you about the vessel's rigging and sail plan. A ship, on the other hand, is an overarching term that could include brigs, but also frigates, tankers, and cruise liners.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
The term brig also has another meaning; it can refer to the jail or holding cell within a naval vessel. A ship may have a brig within it, but the term "ship" itself doesn't denote a jail or confinement space.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
While a brig is always a type of ship, not all ships are brigs. Brigs are more commonly associated with historical seafaring and pirate lore, whereas ships are omnipresent, serving various modern-day functions like transport and defense.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023
Finally, in a brig, you can expect a certain layout, typically well-suited for speed and agility in naval warfare or piracy. A ship can be designed for many purposes, including cargo transport, fishing, or luxury cruising, each with its own specialized design and features.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Specific type of sailing vessel
General term for a large watercraft
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Masts

Two square-rigged masts
Varies
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Function

Historically used for warfare
Multipurpose
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Other Meanings

Can refer to a ship's jail
Does not refer to a jail
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Scope

Narrow, specific
Broad, encompassing
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
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Brig and Ship Definitions

Brig

A jail or holding cell within a naval vessel.
The unruly sailor was sent to the brig.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Ship

A large watercraft designed for long-distance travel.
The ship set sail for a transatlantic journey.
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

Brig

A two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel.
The brig sailed swiftly with the wind.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Ship

Used for cargo or passenger transport.
The ship carried goods from Asia to Europe.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Brig

Historically used for naval warfare.
The brig was armed with numerous cannons.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

Ship

Employed in modern-day functions like transport and defense.
The naval ship was deployed for a rescue mission.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Brig

Associated with pirate ships.
The pirate brig looted merchant vessels.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 18, 2023

Ship

Can be propelled by sails, engines, or both.
The ship used its engines to navigate through rough waters.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Brig

A two-masted sailing vessel, square-rigged on both masts.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A vessel of considerable size for deep-water navigation.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

A jail or prison on board a US Navy or Coast Guard vessel.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A sailing vessel having three or more square-rigged masts.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

A jail or guardhouse, especially on the premises of a US military installation.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

An aircraft or spacecraft.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

(watercraft) A two-masted vessel, square-rigged on both foremast and mainmast
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

The crew of one of these vessels.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

(US) A jail or guardhouse, especially in a naval military prison or jail on a ship, navy base, or (in fiction) spacecraft.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

One's fortune
When my ship comes in, I'll move to a larger house.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

Bridge.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To place or receive on board a ship
Shipped the cargo in the hold.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

Brigadier.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To cause to be transported; send.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

A bridge.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(nautical) A water-borne vessel generally larger than a boat.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

A two-masted, square-rigged vessel.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A vessel which travels through any medium other than across land, such as an airship or spaceship.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

On a United States man-of-war, the prison or place of confinement for offenders.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A spaceship (the type of pattern in a cellular automaton).
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

Two-masted sailing vessel square-rigged on both masts
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

A penal institution (especially on board a ship)
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A dish or utensil (originally fashioned like the hull of a ship) used to hold incense.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Brig

Often features in nautical literature and history.
The brig appears in many tales of high-seas adventure.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Ship

(cartomancy) The third card of the Lenormand deck.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(dated) An aircraft.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(fandom) A fictional romantic relationship between two characters, either real or themselves fictional, especially one explored in fan fiction.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(transitive) To send by water-borne transport.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(transitive) To send (a parcel or container) to a recipient (by any means of transport).
To ship freight by railroad
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(ambitransitive) To release a product (not necessarily physical) to vendors or customers; to launch.
Our next issue ships early next year.
It compiles? Ship it!
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(ambitransitive) To engage to serve on board a vessel.
To ship seamen
I shipped on a man-of-war.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(intransitive) To embark on a ship.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To put or secure in its place.
To ship the tiller or rudder
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(transitive) To take in (water) over the sides of a vessel.
We were shipping so much water I was sure we would capsize.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Leave, depart, scram.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To pass (from one person to another).
Can you ship me the ketchup?
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To go all in.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(sports) To trade or send a player to another team.
Twins ship Delmon Young to Tigers.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(rugby) To bungle a kick and give the opposing team possession.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

(fandom) To support or approve of a fictional romantic relationship between two characters, typically in fan fiction or other fandom contexts.
I ship Kirk and Spock in “Star Trek”.
I ship Peggy and Angie in “Marvel's Agent Carter”.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Pay; reward.
In withholding or abridging of the ship or the hire or the wages of servants.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Any large seagoing vessel.
Like a stately ship . . . With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,Sails filled, and streamers waving.
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Specifically, a vessel furnished with a bowsprit and three masts (a mainmast, a foremast, and a mizzenmast), each of which is composed of a lower mast, a topmast, and a topgallant mast, and square-rigged on all masts. See Illustation in Appendix.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A dish or utensil (originally fashioned like the hull of a ship) used to hold incense.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To put on board of a ship, or vessel of any kind, for transportation; to send by water.
The timber was . . . shipped in the bay of Attalia, from whence it was by sea transported to Pelusium.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

By extension, in commercial usage, to commit to any conveyance for transportation to a distance; as, to ship freight by railroad.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Hence, to send away; to get rid of.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To engage or secure for service on board of a ship; as, to ship seamen.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To receive on board ship; as, to ship a sea.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To put in its place; as, to ship the tiller or rudder.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To engage to serve on board of a vessel; as, to ship on a man-of-war.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

To embark on a ship.
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

A vessel that carries passengers or freight
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Transport commercially
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Hire for work on a ship
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Go on board
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Travel by ship
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Place on board a ship;
Ship the cargo in the hold of the vessel
Sawaira Riaz
May 22, 2023

Ship

Includes various types of vessels.
The fleet consisted of ships ranging from frigates to oil tankers.
Sara Rehman
Sep 18, 2023

FAQs

Is a brig a type of ship?

Yes, a brig is a specific type of sailing vessel and thus a type of ship.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can a ship be a brig?

Yes, a ship can be a brig if it has two square-rigged masts.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What is a brig?

A brig is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel or a jail within a naval ship.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What is a ship?

A ship is a large watercraft designed for long-distance travel, cargo, or passengers.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What was the historical function of brigs?

Historically, brigs were often used in naval warfare and piracy.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can a brig be a pirate ship?

Yes, brigs were often used as pirate ships in history.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

What are ships primarily used for today?

Today, ships are primarily used for cargo transport, fishing, tourism, and naval operations.
Harlon Moss
Sep 18, 2023

Does every ship have a brig?

No, not every ship has a brig (jail); this is more common in naval ships.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

How are ships powered?

Ships can be powered by sails, engines, or both.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

What is the brig used for in modern times?

Brigs are mainly historical ships but can be used for educational purposes or as replicas.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

How many masts does a brig have?

A brig has two square-rigged masts.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

What are the various functions of ships?

Ships serve multiple purposes like cargo transport, fishing, luxury cruising, and defense.
Janet White
Sep 18, 2023

Is a brig faster than other ships?

Brigs were designed for speed and agility, making them faster than some other types of sailing vessels.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Can a ship be used for military purposes?

Yes, certain types of ships are designed for defense and military operations.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023

Are all brigs sailing vessels?

In one context, yes; but "brig" can also refer to a jail on a naval vessel, which is not a separate sailing vessel.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 18, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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