\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This should also clinch a playoff berth for Dallas. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "Cowboys game-by-game predictions: How many wins will Dallas rack up on its 2020 schedule?," 8 May 2020 Tennessee Titans 2019: 10-6, wild-card berth and advanced to AFC Championship game Headliner: The Titans kept their key offensive players -- QB Ryan Tannehill (4 years, $118 million) and RB Derrick Henry (franchise tag). Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "2020 NFL schedule: How Colts opponents have changed in offseason," 7 May 2020 Bengals clinch AFC North behind Dalton's career day Andy Dalton had guided the Bengals to the playoffs with wild card berths in each of his first two seasons. Shelby Dermer,, "Andy Dalton's most memorable moments from his time with the Cincinnati Bengals," 30 Apr. 2020 In the new format, each conference will have an additional wild-card berth. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL officially expands playoff field from 12 teams to 14 starting in 2020 season," 31 Mar. 2020 Glendale 14, Burroughs 4: Host Glendale clinched a playoff berth Thursday with a Pacific League victory. Glendale News-Press, "Sports Roundup: Glendale, Crescenta Valley girls’ tennis earn league wins," 3 Oct. 2019 However, after going 5-7 in their last 12 games, the Nats are now just 1.5 games ahead of the Cubs for the first wild-card berth. Matt Martell,, "NL Wild-Card Reset: Can the Mets Pull Off a Minor Miracle?," 16 Sep. 2019 But the postseason nears and another wild card berth is ever closer in Oakland’s reach. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Athletics win 90th, Sean Manaea and Jesús Luzardo could be a potential wild card one-two punch," 15 Sep. 2019 Afterward, the Braves scored four more runs in the seventh inning and won the game 10-1, clinching a postseason berth. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Braves player Charlie Culberson was hit in the face with a 90 mph fastball," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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,, "Thousands Stranded as Australia Cruise-Ship Standoff Intensifies," 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,, "Viral cruise ship being cleaned and readied for next stop — likely San Francisco," 18 Mar. 2020 The Dragon capsule is expected to remain berthed at the Earth-facing port of the forward Harmony module for 28 days, departing on April 6. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX Dragon bound for space station with tons of cargo," 7 Mar. 2020 The ship berthed on Monday at the Port of Oakland, California, where the passengers will be tested, disembarked and quarantined in the coming days. Curtis Tate, USA TODAY, "'They're getting pummeled.' Travel industry reeling from coronavirus concerns, anxiety," 10 Mar. 2020 Even crew members berthed over ballasted parts of the hold were at risk. David Brown, Washington Post, "Georgia’s Sea Islands: A destination worth the paddle," 28 Feb. 2020 But, as my colleague Sarah Ravani reported, Mike Zampa, a spokesman for the port, said that having a cruise ship berthed at the port poses safety and security issues. Otis R. Taylor Jr.,, "We need to float radical ideas to ease Bay Area’s homeless crisis," 30 Dec. 2019 The morning after the Queen Mary 2 arrived in Brooklyn in October, the Regal Princess, another Carnival Cruise ship, berthed there for the day. Lisa M. Collins, New York Times, "How Cruise Ships Bring 1,200 Tons of Toxic Fumes to Brooklyn a Year," 27 Dec. 2019 The action took place at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, in St. Marys, Georgia, where six Trident submarines, which carry missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, are berthed. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, "The Pope and Catholic Radicals Come Together Against Nuclear Weapons," 19 Nov. 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for berth

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for berth

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Berth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for berth


How to pronounce berth (audio)

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
chiefly US : 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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on berth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for berth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with berth

Spanish Central: Translation of berth

Nglish: Translation of berth for Spanish Speakers

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

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