Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life celebrities or fictional characters, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.


Shipping can involve virtually any kind of relationship: from the well-known and established, to the ambiguous or those undergoing development, and even to the highly improbable or blatantly impossible.

Shipping often takes the form of creative works on the internet, including fanfiction and fanart. A 'ship' refers to the relationship supported, while 'shipping' refers to the phenomenon.

The pairings of characters are typically given names—usually portmanteau of the characters names. For instance, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger combines the "Ro" from Ronald and "mione" from Hermione to give Romione. While other fandoms, such as Once Upon A Time choose ship names that fit the character's roles and personality. For example, 'Outlaw Queen' is the ship between an evil 'queen' and an archer.


The term originates from the X-Files fandom. The relationship between Mulder and Skully began gaining interest. Some fans occasionally described themselves as relationships or shortened as 'shippers. The use of the shortened term began around 1996. The earliest use of shippers is used in an X-Files form, At this time, it was shortened to R'shippers.[1]

The term later develops into shippers. Though for a period of time, shippers usually referred to fans who are interested in heterosexual relationships. While, 'Slashers' referred to people who enjoyed gay relationships in fanworks.


Type Description Examples
Heterosexuality Symbol
A pairing of characters or real-life people, where one side is male and the other female. The word "Het" is derived from the word, "Heterosexual".
NaruHinaNaruto Uzumaki and Hinata Hyūga (Naruto)
FresleyWesley Wyndam-Pryce & Fred Burkle (Angel)
Bandits – Brenda Walsh and Dylan McKay (Beverly Hills, 90210)
JafaelJane Villanueva and Rafael Solano (Jane the Virgin)


Type Description Examples
Male Homosexuality Symbol
Slash refers to relationships between two male characters. Often the characters are portrayed in fanfiction or fanart as being homosexual or bisexual. Occasionally, Slash is also used to describe two female characters. Though, Femslash became more popular to describe these instances. In anime fandoms, the word Yaoi is usually used instead of Slash.
MandrewsArchie Andrews and Reggie Mantle (Riverdale)
DrarryHarry Potter and Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter)
DestielDean Winchester and Castiel (Supernatural)
ColdAtomLeonard Snart and Ray Palmer (Legends of Tomorrow)


Type Description Examples
Female Homosexuality Symbol
Femslash, derived from 'female slash' refers to relationships between two female characters. Also occasionally called F/F, Femmeslash, Girlslash, Ladyslash or Saffic. Often the characters are portrayed in fanfiction or fanart as being homosexual or bisexual. Similar to Yaoi, in anime fandoms, Yuri describes femslash pairings.
KorrasamiKorra and Asami Sato (Legend of Korra)
ClexaLexa and Clarke Griffin (The 100)
ZamayaAmaya Jiwe and Zari Tomaz (Legends Of Tomorrow)
Alphyne - Undyne and Alphys (Undertale)


Type Description Examples
Multi-Ship Icon
Also called Threesome, Foursome, Moresome or OT3 ships. Poly, short for polyamorous, is a relationship between three or more characters. While the term is romantic in nature, the threesome/moresome/etc. also denotes 'three musketeers' type of relationships, e.g. Harry, Hermione and Ron. Often, Polyship is used to describe relationships with a deeper and long-lasting relationship. However, the term threesome in fandom is also used to describe both sexual and romantic relationships between three or more people.
SnowtotemsCaitlin Snow, Amaya Jiwe and Zari Tomaz (Arrowverse)
TahidinorsonEleonor Shellstrop, Jason Mendoza, Tahani Al-Jamil, Chidi Anagonye (The Good Place)
Merryshipping – Usopp/Nami/Luffy/Sanji/Zoro (One Piece)


Type Description Examples
Family Icon
A pairing of characters or real-life people, who are related (adoption + marriages figure into this also, any kind of family unit), and are shipped only as family members. Large groups of friends who are like a family also fall under this category.
Charming FamilyEmma, Charming, Snow, Henry, Neal and Baelfire (OUAT)
BelltaviaBellamy Blake and Octavia Blake (The 100)
Legends of DomesticityAll the Legends Team members (Legends Of Tomorrow)


Type Description Examples
Non-binary icon
Non-binary ships are used to describe relationships including one or more non-binary individuals, or ships involving characters whose true gender is unknown, or characters who fit into a fictional gender or sex. Though non-binary individuals are shipped, it is rare to see the pairing described as a non-binary ship. Alternatively, characters who are transgender can sometimes fit into the 'Het', 'Slash' or 'Femslash' categories. In gender, Non-binary is an umbrella term to describe any person whose gender is not male nor female. Some common nonbinary gender identities include: agender, bigender, genderfluid, androgyne and neutrois. It is also common, in fanfictions for writers to change the gender of a character in an Alternate Universe story.
JanasonJason Mendoza and Janet (The Good Place)
PearlmethystPearl and Amethyst (Steven Universe)
ManetJanet and Michael (The Good Place)
AmedotAmethyst and Peridot (Steven Universe)


Type Description Examples
Friendship Icon
The beautiful, timeless, tireless loyalty and love that is friendship.
DarlieDean Winchester and Charlie Bradbury (Supernatural)
MaraudersRemus Lupin, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew (Harry Potter)


Type Description Examples
Cargo Ship
Cargo Ship Icon
In many fandoms, some fans jokily ship a character with an inanimate object, usually food. They are viewed as Crack!Ships, by most fans. The word, Cargo Ship was coined to describe these ships. A character intense love of an inanimate object tends to cause fans to humorously joke about the love between them
RipcoatRip Hunter and his coat (Legends of Tomorrow)
LuddingLuna Lovegood and pudding (Harry Potter)
SonChiliSonic and a chili dog (Sonic the Hedgehog)
HaruH2OHaru and water (Free!)