noun \ˈhär-bər\

: a part of the ocean, a lake, etc., that is next to land and that is protected and deep enough to provide safety for ships

: a place of safety and comfort

Full Definition of HARBOR

:  a place of security and comfort :  refuge
:  a part of a body of water protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage; especially :  one with port facilities
har·bor·ful \-ˌfl\ noun
har·bor·less \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of HARBOR

  1. <the tanker stayed in Boston harbor three days to undergo repairs>
  2. <seeking a harbor from the drenching rain, we unfortunately chose a bank where a robbery was taking place>

Origin of HARBOR

Middle English herberge, herberwe, from Old English herebeorg military quarters, from here army (akin to Old High German heri) + beorg refuge; akin to Old English burg fortified town — more at harry, borough
First Known Use: 12th century

Related to HARBOR

Other Nautical Terms

avast, aweigh, flotsam, jib, keel, lee, port, starboard, stay

Rhymes with HARBOR



: to give shelter to (someone) : to hide and protect (someone)

: to have (something, such as a thought or feeling) in your mind for a long time

: to hold or contain (something)

har·boredhar·bor·ing \-b(ə-)riŋ\

Full Definition of HARBOR

transitive verb
a :  to give shelter or refuge to
b :  to be the home or habitat of <the ledges still harbor rattlesnakes>; broadly :  contain 2
:  to hold especially persistently in the mind :  cherish <harbored a grudge>
intransitive verb
:  to take shelter in or as if in a harbor
:  live
har·bor·er \-bər-ər\ noun

Examples of HARBOR

  1. It is illegal to harbor an escaped convict.
  2. He still harbors deep feelings of resentment toward his former employer.
  3. I don't harbor any illusions about our chances for success.
  4. She studies the genetic material harbored in a cell's nucleus.
  5. Some of these animals may harbor disease that could affect humans.

First Known Use of HARBOR

12th century


transitive verb \ˈhär-bər\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of HARBOR

: to contain or be the home, habitat, or host of <those who harbor the gene for the illness—William Booth> <green monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops) may have harbored the ancestor of the AIDS virus—R. C. Gallo>


Next Word in the Dictionary: harborage
Previous Word in the Dictionary: harbinger–of–spring
All Words Near: harbor

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