Shipping, derived from the word relationship, is the belief that two fictional characters, typically from the same series, are in an intimate relationship, or have romantic feelings that could potentially lead to a relationship. It is considered a general term for fans' emotional involvement with the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction
. Though technically applicable to any such involvement, it refers chiefly to various related social dynamics observable on the Internet, and is seldom used outside of that context.
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 and the blatantly impossible. People involved in shipping (called shippers) variously assert that the relationship does exist, will exist, or simply that they would like it to exist.