\ 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

Both Blunt and her co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda snagged nods for their performances; Marc Shaiman is nominated for his score; and the film earned a berth in the Best Musical or Comedy category as well. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "3 winners and 2 losers from the 2019 Golden Globes nominations," 6 Dec. 2018 Along the way, 4S Ranch (4-2) beat Escondido American 18-4, Poway American 13-3 and Encinitas 7-0 before losing to eventual champion Rancho Santa Fe 11-5 and beating Del Mar American 6-5 to earn a berth in the finals. Terry Monahan, Pomerado News, "Poway comes close to Little League district title," 12 July 2018 The North Springs Little League Senior Division All-Stars won the state championship tournament in Melbourne and earned a berth in the U.S. Southeast regional Tournament startying July 22. Gary Curreri,, "North Springs Little League Senior Division All-Stars capture state title," 10 July 2018 With a chance to move within one win of earning a berth to the Texas East state championship tournament in Tyler, NASA-West instead dropped a 10-0 game to the Post Oak all-stars at Bayside Little League’s complex Friday night. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "NASA-West 12s fall hard to Post Oak all-stars in Section 3 tournament," 7 July 2018 Four area youth club soccer teams claimed region titles this past weekend to earn a berth in the national tournament set for later this month. Glenn Graham,, "Four area youth soccer teams claim region titles," 5 July 2018 The Bears are now 8-3 and on the verge of the team’s first playoff berth since 2010. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "How Jon Gruden Shaped the NFL Playoff Picture," 28 Nov. 2018 Once arrested for protesting a Trump rally, Tlaib claimed a congressional seat in Michigan as her own, defeating opponent Sam Johnson by a wide berth (91 percent of the vote, as of this writing). Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "The 2018 Midterm Elections," 7 Nov. 2018 The United States and Canada are heavy favorites for two of the three automatic berths from the Concacaf region. Steven Goff,, "U.S. women's soccer is one year from the World Cup. It seems closer for coach Jill Ellis.," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The group now known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula launched its first major attack on Americans in October 2000, when its operatives bombed the USS Cole while the destroyer was berthed in Yemen’s Aden harbor. Mike Pompeo, WSJ, "The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital," 27 Nov. 2018 The first Dragon berthed with the station in May of last year. Michael Belfiore, Popular Mechanics, "Orbital Sciences' Cygnus Berths with Space Station," 30 Sep. 2013 The intruders boarded the World War II-era vessel, which is berthed in a New Jersey river, and opened underwater hatches, flooding the sub. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "World War II-era submarine flooded by vandals in New Jersey," 16 Aug. 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near berth






bertha armyworm


Statistics for berth

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on berth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with berth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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a person who helps groups work together

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