Is there a difference between a spaceship and a starship?
I've been wondering... is it like boats and ships?
Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
"Starship" implies travel between stars (e.g. ships that can only fly within a given solar system are probably NOT going to be called "starship")
A starship or interstellar spacecraft is a theoretical spacecraft designed for traveling between the stars, as opposed to a vehicle designed for orbital spaceflight or interplanetary travel.
On the other hand, "Spaceship"/"Spacecraft" (used interchangeably) is any kind of vehicle for extra-planet travel, be it within star system or between stars.
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft, vehicle, vessel or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo. (src: Wikipedia)
In other words, "starship" category is a special subset of "spaceship" category.
Having said that, these are common definitions.
There is absolutely no guarantee that a particular SciFi author would abide by them and never call intrasystem craft "starship"
Spaceship implies the capability to travel through space. Starship implies the ability to travel between star systems. Therefore, all starships are spaceships but not all spaceships are starships.
In the Star Wars universe for example, all spacefaring vessels could be called spaceships but only ones equipped with a hyperdrive could accurately be called a starship.
not really a difference. starship just sounds cooler because when people think spaceships they think about flying saucers and orbital shuttles. the star dose not really imply interstellar travel. its like astronaut vs cosmonaut. starship/spaceship is a generalisation as well. its better to just call space faring vessels by their hull type. a shuttle is a shutle and a lander is a lander and in the future a frigate will be a frigate and a cruiser will be a cruiser.