- A generic term for any large waterborne craft.
13th century. From Old French, vaissel, also vaisseau, for a ship or a large craft. Also further back to Latin, but nautical associations become murky.
Self-explanatory. It has other meanings, of course, but is mostly a broad term for a boat or ship in the nautical sense.
Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.