Pearl Harbor


Definition of Pearl Harbor

: a surprise attack often with devastating effect

First Known Use of Pearl Harbor

1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, American naval station attacked without warning by the Japanese on December 7, 1941

Learn More About Pearl Harbor

Time Traveler for Pearl Harbor

Time Traveler

The first known use of Pearl Harbor was in 1942

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near Pearl Harbor

pearl gray

Pearl Harbor

pearl hominy

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for Pearl Harbor

Cite this Entry

“Pearl Harbor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor geographical name

Definition of Pearl Harbor

inlet of the Pacific on the southern coast of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu; site of a U.S. Navy base

Note: The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 precipitated the U.S. entry into World War II.


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!