\ 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 His teams finished 70-100 overall with just two winning seasons – 17-14 with an NIT berth in 1984-85 and 15-12 in 1988-89. Michael Perry,, "Tony Yates: Former University of Cincinnati basketball player and coach dies at 82," 17 May 2020 Girls Coach of the Year Greg Baker, JSerra soccer: Baker piloted the Lions to 18-6 record and a berth in the CIF Southern California Division I championship game for the fourth consecutive season. USA TODAY, "Premier award finalists revealed for USA TODAY High School Sports Awards in Los Angeles," 14 May 2020 Brazil was originally scheduled to join Germany, Mexico, Russia, Tunisia and the host, Croatia, in a six-team playoff for one of the four remaining berths in the 12-nation men’s Olympic basketball field for Tokyo. Marc Stein, New York Times, "Leandro Barbosa’s Family Grew During the Pandemic," 27 Apr. 2020 The Raiders expect Carr to perform and help deliver wins and ideally, a playoff berth in 2020. oregonlive, "Marcus Mariota is the highest-paid backup QB in the NFL in 2020: Report," 6 Apr. 2020 Horses have been training and racing to earn points that translate into berths in the 20-horse Derby field even as the rest of the sports world has mostly shut down because of the virus pandemic. CBS News, "Kentucky Derby postponed until September due to coronavirus," 17 Mar. 2020 The announcement capped a day that saw Conference USA call off the remainder of its league tournament, a decision that put UNT in position to claim the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle, "North Texas' NCAA tournament hopes dashed as event called off," 12 Mar. 2020 Lincoln 59, Aubrey 44: Lincoln (24-8) secured a berth in the Class 4A Region II tournament with a regional quarterfinal victory at Carrollton Creekview. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Basketball playoffs: Cedar Hill girls avenge last season’s loss to South Grand Prairie; Woodrow Wilson boys stun South Oak Cliff," 26 Feb. 2020 Hamilton was on staff with Hall when the Wildcats met Louisville with a berth in the Final Four on the line in 1983. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky, Joe B. Hall and 'divine intervention' saved Leonard Hamilton's coaching career," 23 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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

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

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Berth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 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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