\ˈbərth \

Definition of berth 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a nautical : sufficient distance for maneuvering a ship Keep a clear berth of the shoals.

b : an amount of distance maintained for safety give the fire a wide berth giving him a wide berth until he is in a better mood

2a : the place where a ship lies when at anchor or at a wharf was docked at her usual berth

b : a space for an automotive vehicle at rest a truck-loading berth

3 : a place to sit or sleep especially on a ship or vehicle : accommodation a comfortable cabin with a deep berth an upper berth

4a : a billet (see billet entry 1 sense 2a) on a ship waiting for a berth as a ship's surgeon— Bernard Keelan

b : job, position, place a starting berth on the team


berthed; berthing; berths

Definition of berth (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring (something, such as a ship or automotive vehicle) into a berth The ship was berthed at this pier.

2 : to allot quarters or accommodations to : to allot a berth to a place to berth the crew

intransitive verb

: to come into a berth where the ship typically berths

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Examples of berth in a Sentence


a comfortable cabin with a deep berth He has a starting berth on the all-star team.


The ship was berthed at this pier. The ship berthed at this pier.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As Martin’s team contended for an NCAA Tournament berth, Smith joined Christopher in the weight room every morning before class. Alex Schiffer, kansascity, "How Missouri basketball's Mitchell Smith changed his body and position," 25 June 2018 Their first-ever Mountain West title assured the Broncos an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, which is also a first. Rachel Roberts, idahostatesman, "Boise State draws familiar Pac-12 power for NCAA Tournament opener | Idaho Statesman," 13 May 2018 If South Alabama is going to earn an at-large NCAA Regional berth for the third straight year, the Jaguars will have to win and keep winning starting this weekend at Little Rock. Creg Stephenson,, "After huge RPI hit, South Alabama baseball prepares for do-or-die stretch run of season," 3 May 2018 Still is, as evidenced by its run of 20 NCAA tournament berths in the last 22 years. Jeff Sanders,, "Sue Snyder 'set the standard' for USD volleyball," 26 Apr. 2018 Unlike last year’s semifinal showdown, when BU already was assured of an NCAA berth despite losing, a loss on Friday would have been fatal. John Powers,, "Boston University edges Boston College in overtime," 17 Mar. 2018 In five seasons as a Division 1 head coach, Underwood has gone 123-45 (.732) and scored NCAA Tournament berths with Stephen F. Austin in 2014, '15 and 16, as well as in 2017 with Oklahoma State. Phil Rosenthal,, "Illini coach Brad Underwood hired as NCAA tournament analyst by CBS and TBS," 14 Mar. 2018 The Bulldogs, who had been winless in four previous trips to this tourney, almost certainly secured an NCAA berth with the victory. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Butler gets first Big East tournament win on late tip-in," 8 Mar. 2018 The right direction: Junior Zach West had nine points, all on 3-pointers, five rebounds and three assists for Grand Valley State in a 84-62 win over Tiffin that clinched a berth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. Rick Armstrong, Aurora Beacon-News, "Local college notes: West Aurora's Roland Griffin expands his role at Iona," 19 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In early November 2019, the ship will make its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to Miami where it will be berthed for Caribbean cruising. Phil Marty,, "Scaling the Swiss Alps on trains and trams, ranking road-trip friendly states and more," 27 June 2018 While many complain about how much baseball has changed lately, success stories are berthed out of those who adapt. Michael Beller,, "Eduardo Escobar Is the Latest Success Story of the Launch Angle Revolution," 13 June 2018 Pennington, 52, was convicted April 26 on three misdemeanor counts of berthing his boat in the cove without a permit, off and on, between Sept. 26 and Feb. 9. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, "Rogue yachtsman in trouble again for alleged threats at Aquatic Park," 9 May 2018 Dry-berthing the ship will take about $40 million, but towing it away will cost about $30 million. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "Games and guns help group raise funds for Battleship Texas post-Harvey," 9 Jan. 2018 The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. Richard Tribou,, "Miami gives go-ahead for new Norwegian Cruise Line terminal," 13 Apr. 2018 Well, starting April 16, regular civilians will be able to tour the ship, which will be berthed at Portland Marine Terminal #2, at 3556 N.W. Front Ave. Lizzy Acker,, "Portland is about to welcome its namesake Navy ship," 10 Apr. 2018 Moustakas did close with a flourish, however, earning All-Star berths his final two full seasons and, from 2015-2017, posting an .824 OPS and 117 OPS-plus. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "A sampling of MLB players guaranteed more money than Mike Moustakas in 2018," 9 Mar. 2018 Previous aircraft carriers berthed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, including the USS Independence (CV 62), USS Ranger (CV 61) and USS Constellation (CV 64) were sent to Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping. USA TODAY, "Navy's decommissioned Kitty Hawk ship to be dismantled," 25 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'berth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of berth


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1667, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for berth


Middle English birth, probably from beren to bear + -th


see berth entry 1

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Learn More about berth

Dictionary Entries near berth






bertha armyworm


Phrases Related to berth

give (someone or something) a wide berth

Statistics for berth

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for berth

The first known use of berth was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for berth



English Language Learners Definition of berth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a place to sleep on a ship, train, etc.

: a place in the water near the shore where a ship stops and stays

: a place or position on a team



English Language Learners Definition of berth (Entry 2 of 2)

: to bring (a ship) into a place where it can stop and stay : to bring (a ship) into a berth


\ˈbərth \

Kids Definition of berth

1 : a place in the water where a ship stops and stays when anchored or at a wharf

2 : a bed on a ship or train

3 : an amount of distance kept for the sake of safety We gave the haunted house a wide berth.

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Comments on berth

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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