\ 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


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

The Cardinals, one of baseball’s proudest and most prestigious franchises, winners of 11 World Series championships, with 12 playoff berths since 2000, are stuck on the treadmill of mediocrity. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Heat is on the Cardinals - and manager Mike Matheny feels it the most," 4 July 2018 Koonsen, who guided the Angleton boys’ basketball team to 20-win seasons and playoff berths in his only two years at the school, has left the Wildcat fold to become an assistant to Pearland head basketball coach Steve Buckelew. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Boys’ basketball: Koonsen leaves Angleton for Pearland post," 8 July 2018 The port authority will invest $109 million for berth upgrades and other facilities. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Jacksonville Inks $238 Million Deal for Port Expansion," 5 Mar. 2019 Cannes is the type of festival where an early premiere berth can mean a film gets forgotten by the end of the 10 days. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "“I wanted to make it a beautiful disaster”: Pawel Pawlikowski on his new film Cold War," 21 Dec. 2018 Coach of the Year Scott Stocker, Madeira: Stocker led Madeira to its first 20-win season since 2014 and first state semifinal berth since 2011. James Weber,, "Announcing 2017-18 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky high school Spring All-Stars," 29 June 2018 Well that may be the most promising part of the Flyers’ surge toward a playoff berth. Sam Donnellon,, "Steady Ivan Provorov again rocking the mercurial Flyers," 2 Apr. 2018 His Los Angeles Lakers currently are 10th in the West, three games behind the Clippers for the final playoff berth. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "The NBA playoff push starts now with All-Star break ending," 20 Feb. 2019 All four won sectional titles All four brothers brought home sectional titles last week, as East crushed the field in Menomonee Falls for the berth at team state. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Triplets and a younger brother by 15 months compose entire Brookfield East singles lineup as tennis team preps for state," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Toyota vehicles bound for shipment sit near a vehicle carrier ship berthed at the Nagoya Port in Tokai, Japan. Paul Hannon, WSJ, "Trade Friction Stymies Growth in Germany and Japan," 14 Feb. 2019 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

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

21 Apr 2019

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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
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

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

Comments on berth

What made you want to look up berth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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