\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The rigors haven’t seemed to faze the second-place Suns (35-14), in pursuit of their first playoff berth since 2010. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Analyzing Mavs’ playoff outlook: Why catching Lakers, Trail Blazers is most realistic path to top-6 seed," 6 Apr. 2021 That decision paid off last year, when the Marlins made an improbable run to their first playoff berth since 2003 and then swept the Chicago Cubs in the first round before losing to Atlanta. Steven Wine,, "The right man for the Marlins job: Don Mattingly takes root in Miami," 28 Mar. 2021 The Suns, at a surprising No. 2 in the West, are in line for their first playoff berth in 11 seasons. Marc Stein, New York Times, "N.B.A. Trade Deadline: These Players Should Start Packing," 24 Mar. 2021 Warm and fuzzy feelings evaporated not long after Smith led Washington to its first playoff berth in five years. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Washington releases former Utah QB Alex Smith, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year," 5 Mar. 2021 In 2020, the Padres earned their first playoff berth in 14 years. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "MLB truth, lies and videotape: A telling week for a budding star and a team president," 26 Feb. 2021 The longshot Daytona 500 win earned McDowell his first playoff berth and FRM now is positioned to build a once unthinkable cushion. Mark Heim |, al, "NASCAR’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 live stream (2/21): How to watch Daytona online, TV, time," 21 Feb. 2021 Baker Mayfield rebounded from a sophomore slump, helping the Browns to their first playoff berth since 2002 and first postseason win since 1994. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Record-setting quarterback turnover a strong possibility for 2021 NFL season," 18 Feb. 2021 The Browns beat the Steelers on Sunday, 24-22, to clinch their first playoff berth since 2002. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Browns pressure on Mason Rudolph pays off … eventually: 3 Quick Postgame Thoughts," 3 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Detroit activists lead hunger strike in DC to end US-backed blockade on Yemen," 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, "This New Luxury Resort In Seychelles Comes With Its Own Superyacht Parking," 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., "Indian Ports In Confusion as Virus Lockdown Hits Operations," 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,, "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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about berth

Time Traveler for berth

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for berth

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Berth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!