harbor

noun
har·​bor | \ ˈhär-bər How to pronounce harbor (audio) \

Definition of harbor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a place of security and comfort : refuge the … Loyalists found harbor in the same areas— W. G. Hardy
2 : a part of a body of water protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage a yacht harbor especially : one with port facilities

harbor

verb
harbored; harboring\ ˈhär-​b(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce harbor (audio) \

Definition of harbor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give shelter or refuge to harboring a fugitive
b : to be the home or habitat of The ledges still harbor rattlesnakes. broadly : contain sense 2 a town that harbors several textile factories
2 : to hold especially persistently in the mind : cherish harbored a grudge

intransitive verb

1 : to take shelter in or as if in a harbor ships harboring in the bay
2 : live parasites that harbor in the blood

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Other Words from harbor

Noun

harborful \ ˈhär-​bər-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce harbor (audio) \ noun
harborless \ ˈhär-​bər-​ləs How to pronounce harbor (audio) \ adjective

Verb

harborer \ ˈhär-​bər-​ər How to pronounce harbor (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for harbor

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of harbor in a Sentence

Noun the tanker stayed in Boston harbor three days to undergo repairs seeking a harbor from the drenching rain, we unfortunately chose a bank where a robbery was taking place Verb It is illegal to harbor an escaped convict. He still harbors deep feelings of resentment toward his former employer. I don't harbor any illusions about our chances for success. She studies the genetic material harbored in a cell's nucleus. Some of these animals may harbor disease that could affect humans.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With almost 60 slips, the harbor is chockablock with boats, according to McLaughlin. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Trident Seafoods reports 266 total virus cases at remote Aleutian plant plus small outbreak on vessel in Dutch Harbor," 29 Jan. 2021 The small harbor city off the Southern California coast, where Kalez serves as co-president of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, has long been known as one of the top whale watching destinations in the world. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "Dana Point, California, where marine mammals 'live in harmony with people,' earns distinction as first Whale Heritage Site in US," 28 Jan. 2021 After comparing notes, the two realized Dana Point’s small natural harbor had access to more robust wildlife viewing than just about anywhere else. Los Angeles Times, "Dana Point named first Whale Heritage Site in the U.S.," 27 Jan. 2021 Boaters on Lake Murray near Columbia were warned to seek harbor as winds of up to 50 mph were moving through, the National Weather Service said in a statement early Tuesday. The Associated Press, NOLA.com, "1 dead, at least 17 injured after tornado rips through Alabama town," 26 Jan. 2021 Video from the village of Urk, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, showed youths breaking into the coronavirus testing facility near the village's harbor before it was set ablaze Saturday night. Peter Dejong, Star Tribune, "Rioting youths in Dutch village torch virus testing center," 24 Jan. 2021 The smear merchants would have simply moved on to target some other cowardly organization; one day, perhaps none shall remain to give them harbor. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Don’t Fire People For Dumb Tweets," 22 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thanks to their low water content, occlusives themselves are less likely to harbor bacteria and have a long shelf life. Sabina Wizemann, Good Housekeeping, "What You Need to Know About Occlusives in Skincare," 28 Dec. 2020 In 2009, the Journal of Clinical Nursing published a study finding that anti-fat attitudes extended to nurses, too, and that professional nurses were more likely to harbor anti-fat bias than nursing students. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "As Coronavirus Rages, We Need to Talk About Medical Anti-Fat Bias," 21 Dec. 2020 But if the findings turn out to be true, a search for stellar europium could help astronomers find the planetary systems most likely to harbor habitable worlds. Marcus Woo, Scientific American, "Stellar Smashups May Fuel Planetary Habitability, Study Suggests," 17 Nov. 2020 Alberich and Hagen’s dark corner seemed to harbor poisonous germs; on the roof, the scene of redemption, the fresh air seemed to blow them away. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Twilight: Gods’ Review: Drive-Through Opera in the Motor City," 19 Oct. 2020 The idea that cells can harbor such large temperature gradients is surprising because in such a minute space, a sharp rise in heat should dissipate quite quickly. Alla Katsnelson, Scientific American, "Mysterious Heat Spikes inside Cells Are Probed with Tiny Diamonds," 15 Jan. 2021 Some of them come from far-right organizations that harbor a broad antigovernment agenda and have already been protesting state Covid-19 lockdowns since last spring. New York Times, "State Capitols ‘on High Alert,’ Fearing More Violence," 11 Jan. 2021 Iran continued to harbor al-Qaeda’s number two, until he was killed earlier this year. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "There’s No Reason for Biden to Reward Iran," 19 Dec. 2020 Recent polls have shown that confidence in the vaccine is increasing but that many Americans still harbor doubts. Josh Wingrove, Fortune, "Trump has barely said anything about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout he has long promised," 16 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harbor.' 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 harbor

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for harbor

Noun

Middle English herberwe, herberowe, herbour, harborow "quarters, lodgings, field camp of an army, shelter for a traveler," going back to Old English herebeorg "shelter, lodgings," going back to Germanic *haribergō- (whence also Old Frisian herberge "lodging, inn," Old Saxon heriberga "army camp," Old High German heriberga, herberga "army camp, lodging for a traveler, accommodations," Old Norse herbergi "inn, room"), from *harja- "body of armed men" + *-beorgō- "shelter, protection," noun derivative from the base of *bergan- "to keep safe" (whence Old English beorgan [strong verb class III] "to defect, defend, preserve," Old Saxon gibergan "to protect," Old High German bergan "to save, preserve, conceal," Old Norse bjarga "to save," Gothic bairgan "to keep, preserve"), going back to dialectal Indo-European *bhergh-, whence also Old Church Slavic nebrěgǫ, nebrěšti "to disregard, neglect," Czech brh "hayrick, cave, hut" (from *bĭrgŭ), Czech brah "hayrick," Polish bróg "hayrick, barn for hay" (from *borgŭ), Lithuanian bìrginti "to be sparing, not spend much," Old Irish commairce "protection, refuge" (from *ḱom-bhorgh-i̯e-) — more at harry

Note: Middle English forms such as herboru and harborow appear to show assimilation of the second element of the compound to variants of burgh "town, fortified dwelling" (see borough). — Germanic *bergan- has been associated with *berga- "hill, mountain" (see barrow entry 1), on the assumption that a high place would be a place of refuge, though the Indo-European base underlying *berga- is *bherǵh-, not *bhergh-. An etymon bherǵh-, however, would rule out the clearly related Balto-Slavic forms, which do not have a palatovelar stop. The link could only be maintained if the Balto-Slavic base was borrowed from Germanic, but the full display of ablaut and diversification of meaning in Slavic make borrowing unlikely.

Verb

Middle English herberwen, herborewen "to lodge, give shelter to," going back to Old English herebeorgian, going back to Germanic *haribergōjan- (whence also Middle Dutch herbergen "to provide shelter for," Old High German heribergōn "to set up quarters for an army, stay as a guest," Old Norse herbergja "to shelter [a person], lodge"), derivative of *haribergō- "shelter for an armed force" — more at harbor entry 1

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Learn More about harbor

Time Traveler for harbor

Time Traveler

The first known use of harbor was in the 12th century

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Statistics for harbor

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Harbor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harbor. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for harbor

harbor

noun

English Language Learners Definition of harbor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a part of the ocean, a lake, etc., that is next to land and that is protected and deep enough to provide safety for ships
: a place of safety and comfort

harbor

verb

English Language Learners Definition of harbor (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give shelter to (someone) : to hide and protect (someone)
: to have (something, such as a thought or feeling) in your mind for a long time
: to hold or contain (something)

harbor

noun
har·​bor | \ ˈhär-bər How to pronounce harbor (audio) \

Kids Definition of harbor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a part of a body of water (as a sea or lake) so protected as to be a place of safety for ships : port
2 : a place of safety and comfort : refuge

harbor

verb
harbored; harboring

Kids Definition of harbor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give shelter to They harbored the escaped prisoner.
2 : to have or hold in the mind For years she harbored the desire to travel.
har·​bor | \ ˈhär-bər How to pronounce harbor (audio) \

Medical Definition of harbor

: to contain or be the home, habitat, or host of those who harbor the gene for the illness— William Booth green monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops) may have harbored the ancestor of the AIDS virus— R. C. Gallo

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harbor

noun
har·​bor

Legal Definition of harbor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a place of security and comfort — see also safe harbor

Legal Definition of harbor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to receive secretly and conceal (a fugitive from justice)
2 : to have (an animal) in one's keeping may not harbor a dog without a permit

Other Words from harbor

harborer noun

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Comments on harbor

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