\ ˈbərth How to pronounce berth (audio) \

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

Examples of berth in a Sentence

Noun a comfortable cabin with a deep berth He has a starting berth on the all-star team. Verb The ship was berthed at this pier. The ship berthed at this pier.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Wildcats will compete in Class 4A Region 8, battling teams like Randolph, Priceville and North Jackson for a playoff berth. Jimmy Lay, al, 3 Aug. 2022 Wisconsin knows the identity of its next major-leaguer with the arrival of Baltimore Orioles infielder Terrin Vavra, a 25-year-old Menomonie native promoted July 26 to an Orioles team that is now above .500 and competing for a playoff berth. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 27 July 2022 The driver of the No. 4 Ford is barely on the outside looking in for a playoff berth. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 26 July 2022 Busch appears set for a playoff berth with the No.45 Toyota team with a win from Kansas Speedway in his pocket. Kelly Crandall, USA TODAY, 23 July 2022 Without Williamson, the Pelicans started 1-12 last season but steadily climbed into contention for a Western Conference playoff berth. Brett Martel, ajc, 2 July 2022 On Friday, 20 cargo ships were waiting off the Southern California coast for a berth, down from a record 109 in January. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 14 June 2022 The teams will play Monday at 4:30 p.m. for a berth to the College World Series. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 13 June 2022 The show is set for a midseason berth and will premiere in early 2023. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So, visibility to a container on land moving by rail or truck matters more than visibility to when a ship will berth. Steve Banker, Forbes, 17 May 2022 Smaller tankers could berth alongside it to access its oil. The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2021 Another tanker could berth next to the ship and—while pumping inert gas into the Safer’s oil tanks—suck out its Marib crude. The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2021 Despite intervention from the United Nations to approve the clearance of 14 vessels, the tankers were not able to berth. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 8 Apr. 2021 The Marina has the capacity to berth around 19 vessels, with a maximum length of 328 feet, providing state-of-the-art pontoons. Jim Dobson, Forbes, 20 Mar. 2021 The firm is not facing problems berthing vessels, and the force majeure was due to fall in demand because of virus outbreak., 5 May 2020 Many countries have become increasingly reluctant to grant entry to cruise ships after the infection of more than 700 people on a vessel berthed off Japan showed how quickly the virus could spread. Jason Scott,, 10 Apr. 2020 Sources at the Port of San Francisco say other cruise lines that have suspended operations during the coronavirus pandemic are in talks with the port about berthing their luxury liners here. Phil Matier,, 18 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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

Noun and Verb

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

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

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Berth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for berth


\ ˈbərth How to pronounce berth (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on berth

Nglish: Translation of berth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of berth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about berth


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