\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

Chicago went from 89 losses in 2014 to a playoff berth in '15, while the Astros turned 92 losses into a spot in the AL Wild Card Game. Tom Verducci,, "Nine Innings: How Bryce Harper Is Trying to Revive His Season, What We Learned in the First Half and More," 9 July 2018 Chesapeake improved to 7-2, tying its win total from last season and moving closer to a playoff berth with five regular-season games left. Jonas Shaffer,, "Led by Danowski, Bayhawks rout Cannons, 15-8, for sixth straight win," 3 July 2018 The CP3-Harden Rockets were thisclose to an NBA Finals berth. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Where LeBron James should sign based on legacy, family, rings and other factors," 12 June 2018 Trinkle helped Providence to a berth in the team state finals last week, but the Pioneers lost to Carmel, 3-2. Lewis Bagley, Indianapolis Star, "HS girls tennis: Cathedral duo claims doubles title, Halli Trinkle wins singles," 9 June 2018 The Mets, meanwhile, were the reigning National League champions, weathering a barrage of injuries but eventually pushing through to another playoff berth. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "What the Mets Need Now: Some Yankees-Style Boldness," 8 June 2018 Shortly before his May 3 arrest, the boat Pennington lives on, a Searunner 34 sailboat, was towed to a berth in the Hyde Street Harbor, where it was been chained to the dock and posted with No Trespassing signs. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, "Rogue yachtsman in trouble again for alleged threats at Aquatic Park," 9 May 2018 All-scholastics Regan Benton Oliver Ames | Senior With a 1.22 goals against average, Benton led the Tigers to a berth in the Division 1 South sectionals., "2017-18 Girls' Soccer All-Scholastics," 7 May 2018 Sean Casey was about to have his first breakout season in a Reds uniform and Barry Larkin, Greg Vaughn, and Dmitri Young would help lead the Reds to a pleasantly surprising berth in a one-game playoff. John Aerni-flessner,, "Flying Pig 2018: On 20th anniversary, 2003 winner offers advice and reflects on his race," 4 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Well, starting April 16, regular civilians will be able to tour the ship, which will be berthed at Portland Marine Terminal #2, at 3556 N.W. Front Ave. Lizzy Acker,, "Portland is about to welcome its namesake Navy ship," 10 Apr. 2018 Moustakas did close with a flourish, however, earning All-Star berths his final two full seasons and, from 2015-2017, posting an .824 OPS and 117 OPS-plus. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "A sampling of MLB players guaranteed more money than Mike Moustakas in 2018," 9 Mar. 2018 Previous aircraft carriers berthed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, including the USS Independence (CV 62), USS Ranger (CV 61) and USS Constellation (CV 64) were sent to Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping. USA TODAY, "Navy's decommissioned Kitty Hawk ship to be dismantled," 25 Oct. 2017

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


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


see berth entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near berth






bertha armyworm


Statistics for berth

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

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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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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