\ 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

On May 1, 1928, the Carnegie left its berth at Washington’s harbor for what would turn out to be its final voyage. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A truly magnetic personality: Capt. J.P. Ault and his amazing ship, the Carnegie," 14 Sep. 2019 Caroline Miller, right, commanding officer of the Coast Guard cutter Narwhal, and Seaman Thomas Roberts are pictured with the 87-foot vessel at its Corona del Mar berth. David C. Henley, Daily Pilot, "‘It will live with me forever’: Coast Guard officer recalls 4 days of duty at site of dive boat tragedy," 9 Sep. 2019 Nagy guided the Bears to their best record since 2006 and earned their first playoff berth since the 2010 season. oregonlive, "Green Bay Packers defeat the Chicago Bears: Score, stats, recap," 5 Sep. 2019 Harmony is looking to build on its postseason berth last season while playing in 7A-5 opposite rival St. Cloud, Tohopekaliga, Melbourne and Viera. J.c. Carnahan,, "Class 7A preview: Edgewater vs. Wekiva rivalry is on," 22 Aug. 2019 The Madrid club finished fifth and secured their berth in the Europa League group stage, recording their best ever finish in the Spanish top flight as well as European football., "Atletico Madrid vs Getafe: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 15 Aug. 2019 But as the Cowboys pursue their first NFC Championship Game berth since the 1995 season, the team will need its defense to recreate last year’s swagger. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "How Rod Marinelli uses 'madness' to ‘demand greatness’ from Dallas Cowboys D," 8 Aug. 2019 The Aeronauts, starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, is losing its berth in Imax theaters after Amazon Studios scrapped a plan to give the awards hopeful a traditional theatrical release. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Aeronauts' Loses Imax Run After Amazon Scraps Traditional Release," 30 July 2019 JuTahn McClain, Fairfield, all-purpose back McClain put up video game numbers as a junior in 2018, leading Fairfield to its fourth consecutive postseason berth. Shelby Dermer,, "Cincinnati's Mr. Football curse: Will 2019 be the year it comes to an end?," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The full-scape replica ship was built in England in the 1950s and has been berthed in Plymouth Harbor. USA TODAY, "‘Molly of Denali,’ saloon discourse, ashes by mail: News from around our 50 states," 10 July 2019 Other stations have berths for space tourists, but very few aggressively focus on ferrying the super rich to low-earth (LEO) orbit. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "A 10-Year Odyssey: What Space Stations Will Look Like in 2030," 10 June 2019 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

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

22 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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