Shipping Wiki

Shipping, 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 outlaw archer.


X-Files Origin (1990s)

The term originated from the X-Files fandom. Many fans wanted to see a romantic relationship between characters Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. These fans would post on the X-Files form At first, they called themselves "relationshippers," then R'shipper, 'shipper, and finally just shipper.

Additionally, the term "NoRomo" was coined by fans who wanted Mulder and Scully to remain platonic. Though the term never gained widespread usage, unlike shippers, which is still a common word in fandom to this day.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of the noun ship and shipper began around 1996, shipping a little later in 1997, and the verb to ship in 1998.

Slash fanfiction (1970s)


Kirk and Spock from Star Trek, one of the earliest slash ships

In the late 1970s, slash was coined to describe the genre of fanfiction that focuses on same-sex relationships. This predates the usage of shippers (around 1996), while slash was used years earlier. The term originated from the Star Trek fandom. Many fans would write "Kirk/Spock" fanfictions. The use of the slash "/" was used to refer to the romantic relationship, and the symbol "&" to refer to the platonic relationship. This would later gain more widespread usage by other fandoms, namely Starsky and Hutch, Blake's 7, and The Professionals. This spawned into its fandom, known as slash, and centred around gay fanfiction from different media.

In addition, the word Femslash was coined to refer to fanfiction about female same-sex relationships. This term was relatively rare until the late 1990s. The show Xena: The Warrior Princess is often credited for being the catalyst of femslash popularity, with the Xena/Gabrielle pairing gaining many fans and becoming the show's dominant ship. Likewise, femslash also increased in popularity by Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1999, and the canon pairing Tara/Willow. Around the 1990s, het was used to describe fanworks focused on heterosexual relationships.


Xena and Gabrielle, from Xena, one of the earliest femslash ships

For some time, shippers usually referred to fans who are interested in heterosexual relationships. While 'Slashers' referred to people who enjoyed gay relationships. In the early 2000s, this became more rare, with ship referring to every type of relationship (het, slash, femslash etc). Additionally, the word "Gen" (short for general) was used to refer to platonic relationships.

In the early 2010s, the usage of the words slash, femslash, and het is declining in popularity. Some fans opt to use the terms M/F, M/M or F/F instead, or use no categories at all.

Rise of the Portmanteau (early 2000s)

Supernatural 10x05 Destiel

Sam and Dean talking about ship names, in Season 10 Episode 5 of Supernatural (2014)

Sam“I mean, shouldn't it be "Dea-stiel"?”
Dean“Really, that's your issue with this?”
Sam“No, of course. It's not my issue. You know, how about... "Sastiel," "Samstiel"?”
— Sam and Dean talking about ship names[1]

A portmanteau (or smushword) is when two words are combined to make a new word. This is common practice in shipping, in which, fans combine two characters names together, forming a new ship name. For instance, the ship name for Dean Winchester and Castiel from Supernatural is referred to as Destiel. The 'De' from Dean, and 'tiel' from Castiel. Other examples include Romione (Ron and Hermione), Klance (Keith and Lance), Bubbline (Princess Bubblegum and Marceline) and many more.

In 1900s fandom, portmanteaus were rare, almost non-existent and became a more common trend around the early 2000s. Before then, fans would usually refer to the ships with the use of the slash '/', or simply the character names. For instance, Kirk and Spock from Star Trek, was called Kirk/Spock or shortened as K/S. The usage of the combined Spirk was not popularised until the early 2000s.[2] Before then, they were simply Kirk/Spock. This was the same for other fandoms. For instance, Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter was often called H/Hr, before the word Harmony was coined.

Popslash (around 1999-early 2000s) is often credited for the rise of portmanteaus. This fandom centres on many real-life boybands (such as 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys), and it was common practice to combine the names of the singers. For instance, JoLa refers to the ship between Joey Fatone and Lance Bass from 'N Sync.[3]The idea of portmanteaus later spread to other fandoms.

In 2002, the relationship between American actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez was referred to by the media as 'Bennifer'. Similarly, the relationship between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was termed Brangelina. These were both considered supercouples in Hollywood and are some of the earliest usages of ship names. This trend later spread to other fandoms. Most notably, in the early 2000s, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom began using the smushwords Spuffy and Bangel to refer to the show's main ships.[4]

In 2007, the social media platform Tumblr was launched. Portmanteaus became even more popular. For instance, one of the earliest ships popular on Tumblr was Destiel from Supernatural. Tumblr did not at first support the usage of "/" symbol in tags. So posts had to be tagged with more descriptive names in order to be seen, so portmanteaus were more of a necessity. This led to portmanteau names becoming the norm in fandom, and to this day, most ships usually receive a combined name.


According to Tumblr statistics, these are the #1 most reblogged ships, from 2013-present:

2013 MakoHaru Free!
2014 Destiel Supernatural
2015 Larry Stylinson One Direction
2016 Clexa The 100
2017 Klance Voltron: Legendary Defender
2019 Ineffable Husbands Good Omens
2020 Reylo Star Wars
2021 Destiel Supernatural
2022 Byler Stranger Things
2023 Ineffable Husbands Good Omens


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". Sometimes referred to as M/F.
Captain SwanKillian Jones and Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)
JafaelJane Villanueva and Rafael Solano (Jane the Virgin)
NaruHinaNaruto Uzumaki and Hinata Hyūga (Naruto)
PercabethPercy Jackson and Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)


Type Description Examples
Male Homosexuality Symbol
Slash refers to relationships between two male characters. Also referred to as M/M. Occasionally, Slash is also used to describe two female characters, however femslash became more popular to describe these instances. In anime fandoms, the word yaoi is usually used instead of slash.
ColdAtomLeonard Snart and Ray Palmer (Legends of Tomorrow)
DestielDean Winchester and Castiel (Supernatural)
DrarryHarry Potter and Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter)
MakoHaruMakoto Tachibana and Haruka Nanase (Free!)


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 Sapphic. In anime fandoms, Yuri describes femslash pairings.
Alphyne Undyne and Alphys (Undertale)
ClexaLexa and Clarke Griffin (The 100)
KorrasamiKorra and Asami Sato (Legend of Korra)
ZamayaAmaya Jiwe and Zari Tomaz (Legends Of Tomorrow)


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.
MercyKill76Mercy, Reaper and Soldier: 76 (Overwatch)
ShklanceShiro, Keith and Lance (Voltron: Legendary Defender)
TrephacardTrevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades and Alucard (Castlevania)


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. This type of ship is not romantic, instead a family bond. Large groups of friends who are like a family also fall under this category.
BelltaviaBellamy Blake and Octavia Blake (The 100)
ElsannaElsa and Anna (Frozen)
HanethHannah Washington and Beth Washington (Until Dawn)


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.
AmedotAmethyst and Peridot (Steven Universe)
HannorHank and Connor (Detroit: Become Human)
PearlmethystPearl and Amethyst (Steven Universe)
SymbrockVenom Symbiote and Eddie Brock (Venom)


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
BoulderfieldChris Redfield and a boulder (Resident Evil)
DrappleDraco Malfoy and a green apple (Harry Potter)
HaruH2OHaru and water (Free!)
SonChiliSonic and a chili dog (Sonic the Hedgehog)



  1. Supernatural: 10x05 "Fan Fiction"
  2. Spirk on Wikitionary: One of the earliest usages around 2003
  3. List of Popslash Pairing Names on Fanlore
  4. a fan at FC-L, quoted saying Spuffy and Bangel were used from around 2001 onwards, from Fanlore