harbor

noun
har·​bor | \ˈhär-bər \

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 \

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 \ noun
harborless \ˈhär-​bər-​ləs \ adjective

Verb

harborer \ˈhär-​bər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for harbor

Synonyms: Noun

asylum, bolt-hole [chiefly British], harborage, haven, refuge, retreat, sanctuary, sanctum, shelter

Synonyms: Verb

bear, cherish, entertain, have, hold, nurse

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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

Geography also helps: Bucksport is near Bangor, the region’s commercial center, and has a picturesque harbor. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Maine’s Mill Towns Search for New Life," 2 Oct. 2018 Like a seaside cliff in Pismo Beach at golden hour, or her two children at a Santa Barbara harbor. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Alessandra Ambrosio Is Road Tripping Up the California Coast, Taking Gorgeous Photos Along the Way," 22 Aug. 2018 The Best Art to See This Month In July, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA Boston) debuted its latest venue, Watershed, a free museum in an old warehouse, across the harbor in East Boston. Lauren Decarlo, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Boston in August 2018," 8 Aug. 2018 DuSable Park Related’s plans call for pedestrian access to 400 N. Lake Shore from landscaped walkways along the Chicago River’s northern bank and the southern edge of the Ogden Slip, a quiet harbor-like setting where a handful of boats dock. Bill Ruthhart, chicagotribune.com, "Exclusive: Two soaring towers planned for long-languishing Chicago Spire site along Lake Shore Drive," 11 May 2018 Stay at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel for amazing views of the harbor. The Editors, Seventeen, "The Best Road Trips to Take With Your Besties," 27 Aug. 2018 The two recent LimeBike reports follow an incident in Quincy late last month where police plucked a pair of Ofo Bikes out of the harbor, sparking an investigation. Steve Annear, BostonGlobe.com, "Dockless bikes keep ending up underwater," 13 July 2018 Oceanside's Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade: Boat parade starts 1 p.m. July 4 in the Oceanside Harbor at the Oceanside Yacht Club and continues on to the south end of the harbor. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Fireworks, parades set to take off in North County," 2 July 2018 Don’t skip a hike up Federal Hill for beautiful views of the harbor. New York Times, "Place 19 of 52: A Celebration of African-American Culture in Baltimore," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many on the radical left of Greece politics, however, continued to view American power with suspicion, and to harbor some sympathy for small violent leftist groups, who continue to be active in some Greek cities. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Anger Over Old Terrorists Upsets New Friendship Between Greece, U.S.," 6 Nov. 2018 Site operators found to harbor such ads will have 30 days to check their Abusive Experiences Report before Google lowers the hammer and removes all ads from the site, Google said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Google's Chrome 71 will block 'abusive' ads that trick you into clicking them," 6 Nov. 2018 Fruit bats have an almost supernatural ability to harbor some of the planet's most deadly viruses without getting sick themselves. Lucy Cooke, ajc, "US military is interested in bats as possible defenders against bioweapons," 3 July 2018 Under a new rule, all adults in any household that volunteers to harbor a migrant child must submit fingerprints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Immigrant Families Must Pay Steep Fees to Get Child Migrants Out of Detention," 2 July 2018 Carbon-containing asteroids like Ryugu have attracted interest in part because they're thought to harbor water-bearing minerals that may hold clues about the origin and evolution of our solar system. David Freeman /, NBC News, "Japan's Hayabusa 2 space probe snuggles up to odd-looking asteroid," 26 June 2018 Most people take precautions to avoid contracting salmonella poisoning from raw chicken, but there are other foods that are surprisingly more likely to harbor the harmful bacteria. Cincinnati Enquirer, The Courier-Journal, "Kellogg's Honey Smacks recalled after salmonella outbreak in Kentucky, 30 other states," 15 June 2018 Most people take precautions to avoid contracting salmonella poisoning from raw chicken, but there are other foods that are surprisingly more likely to harbor the harmful bacteria. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "First eggs. Now pre-cut melon. What you need to know about salmonella.," 12 June 2018 And then there was that secret passion that Ove harbored for his dear, departed wife and his oddly practical plan to join her in the afterlife as soon as possible. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Best bets at Printers Row Lit Fest," 23 May 2018

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 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

Verb

see harbor entry 1

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Statistics for harbor

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for harbor

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

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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 \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on harbor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harbor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harbor

Spanish Central: Translation of harbor

Nglish: Translation of harbor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harbor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about harbor

Comments on harbor

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