c. 1300, "container," from Old French vessel "container, receptacle, barrel; ship" (12c., Modern French vaisseau) from Late Latin vascellum "small vase or urn," also "a ship," alteration of Latin vasculum, diminutive of vas "vessel." Sense of "ship, boat" is found in English from early 14c. "The association between hollow utensils and boats appears in all languages" [Weekley]. Meaning "canal or duct of the body" (especially for carrying blood) is attested from late 14c.
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