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"Ships" refers to a relationship between characters, either one constructed by fandom or a canon relationship. It's usage has been traced back to The X-Files fandom in the early 1990s.

If a fan or fic writer pairs one character with another, they are said to 'ship' them, eg. I ship Jody and Donna.

Conflict between supporters of different ships can lead to shipping wars. A Ship that is privileged above all others is the OTP or One true Pairing.

Ships are usually granted a mashup name, which is a portmanteau of the characters involved eg Destiel for Dean and Castiel. The pairing may also be written with a slash (or "virgule") between them like John/Bobby - hence the term Slash.

See also

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