1

harbor

noun har·bor \ ˈhär-bər \
Updated on: 12 Dec 2017

Definition of harbor

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

harborful

play \ˈhär-bər-ˌfu̇l\ noun

harborless

play \ˈhär-bər-ləs\ adjective

Examples of harbor in a Sentence

  1. the tanker stayed in Boston harbor three days to undergo repairs

  2. seeking a harbor from the drenching rain, we unfortunately chose a bank where a robbery was taking place

Recent Examples of harbor from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of harbor

Middle English herberge, herberwe, from Old English herebeorg military quarters, from here army (akin to Old High German heri) + beorg refuge; akin to Old English burg fortified town — more at harry, borough

harbor Synonyms

Synonyms
anchorage, harborage, haven, port
Related Words
basin, dock, marina, moorage, mooring; arm, bay, bight, cove, creek [chiefly British], embayment, estuary, firth, fjord (also fiord), gulf, inlet, lagoon, loch [Scottish], lough [chiefly Irish], narrow, roads, roadstead; canal, channel, sound, strait; containerport, home port, seaport

Other Nautical Terms


2

harbor

verb

Definition of harbor

harbored; harboring play \ˈhär-b(ə-)riŋ\
transitive verb
1 a : to give shelter or refuge to
  • harboring a fugitive
b : to be the home or habitat of
  • The ledges still harbor rattlesnakes.
; broadly : contain 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

harborer

play \ˈhär-bər-ər\ noun

Examples of harbor in a Sentence

  1. It is illegal to harbor an escaped convict.

  2. He still harbors deep feelings of resentment toward his former employer.

  3. I don't harbor any illusions about our chances for success.

  4. She studies the genetic material harbored in a cell's nucleus.

  5. Some of these animals may harbor disease that could affect humans.

Recent Examples of harbor from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of harbor

harbor Synonyms


HARBOR Defined for English Language Learners

harbor

noun

Definition of harbor for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of harbor for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

harbor

noun har·bor \ ˈhär-bər \

Definition of harbor for Students

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

2

harbor

verb

Definition of harbor for Students

harbored; harboring
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.

Medical Dictionary

harbor

transitive verb har·bor \ ˈhär-bər \

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

Law Dictionary

1

harbor

noun har·bor

legal Definition of harbor

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

2

harbor

transitive verb

legal Definition of harbor

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

harborer

noun


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up harbor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the significant part of a grievance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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