star·​board | \ ˈstär-bərd How to pronounce starboard (audio) \

Definition of starboard

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the right side of a ship or aircraft looking forward — compare port



Definition of starboard (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, or situated to starboard


starboarded; starboarding; starboards

Definition of starboard (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to turn or put (a helm or rudder) to the right

Examples of starboard in a Sentence


The ship turned to starboard.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Steam was up and everything was in readiness for sailing when suddenly, and without any warning whatever, the starboard forward boiler exploded with a deafening roar. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: In 1905 the gunboat Bennington exploded in San Diego harbor," 21 July 2019 Seconds before we were smashed to pieces, the longboat swung 90 degrees starboard and banged against a harbor wall with a mighty jolt while two dock-hands lashed us fast. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Exploring Polynesia's Islands by Cruise," 28 June 2019 Around 30 minutes after the creature first appeared on Robinson’s screen, a starboard instrumentation antenna on board the research vessel was hit by lightning, prompting fears that the remarkable footage was lost. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Watch First Footage of Giant Squid Filmed in American Waters," 24 June 2019 But Lee’s most searing memory was from a few weeks later, when he was ordered to trade places with another man on a watch, switching to the port side rather than his usual starboard post. Washington Post, "D-Day veterans choke back tears to ensure memories live on," 8 June 2019 The Warriors resembled a 16th century galleon overloaded with gold and listing to starboard. Michael Powell, New York Times, "The Golden State Warriors Are … Alive!," 3 June 2019 The force of the collision left multiple punctures in the ship’s starboard hull. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Truth About Failing Spectacularly," 16 Feb. 2019 New photos show the starboard radar panel, which normally stands approximately forty feet above the surface, submerged. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Wrecked Norwegian Frigate Is Pretty Much Toast," 13 Nov. 2018 In the moments after the accident, the hole flooded the ship, causing the destroyer to list towards the bow and starboard even while damage control pumps were furiously pumping water back out of the ship. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "New Photos Reveal Extent of Damage to the USS Fitzgerald," 12 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The force of the explosion had torn a great hole in the starboard side of the ship and the vessel was already commencing to list. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: In 1905 the gunboat Bennington exploded in San Diego harbor," 21 July 2019 When the kamikazes went airborne on that October morning in 1944, Art Tooze was the gunner’s mate at a twin 40 mm on the starboard side of the USS Fanshaw Bay., "The back story on Independence Day: Steve Duin," 28 June 2019 Photos from Iranian news agencies showed a fire burning on the starboard side of the Front Altair. The Economist, "Who is blowing up ships in the Gulf?," 13 June 2019 On Christmas night the ice suddenly broke completely away from the shore and disappeared in the inky darkness, leaving the starboard side of the Roosevelt exposed and unprotected. Robert E. (robert Edwin) Peary, Harper's magazine, "Unyielding Ice," 10 June 2019 Fitzgerald suffered a huge gash on the starboard side, underneath the bridge and the SPY-1 radar system, as well as large hole in the hull underneath the waterline. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Stricken Destroyer USS Fitzgerald Leaves Drydock," 18 Apr. 2019 If there were a second drafting airplane, its ideal placement would be on the starboard side, about 6000 feet from the lead. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Vortex Surfing: Formation Flying Could Save the Air Force Millions on Fuel," 17 July 2013 The ferry itself sustained damage to its starboard fin stabilizer, an element that helps make for a more comfortable ride in rougher waters, said Aurah Landau, a spokeswoman for the state transportation department. Washington Post, "Whale strikes Alaska ferry, may have suffered mortal injury," 22 June 2018 Her 75th Fighter Squadron A-10 was hit by ground fire, taking extensive damage to the starboard vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, aft fuselage, and engine. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "Why the A-10 Warthog Is Such a Badass Plane," 19 Nov. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sponsons made of rigid foam plastic, and affixed to port and starboard sides of the craft, kept it afloat. Eric Adler, The Seattle Times, "Congress didn’t act after 1999 duck-boat tragedy. Now it must, experts say.," 30 July 2018 An alarm was triggered on the M/V Woods Hole’s starboard propeller Monday, and workers replaced a part of the mechanism later that day, according to the agency. Jeremy C. Fox,, "Steamship Authority cancels ferry trips on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket routes," 10 July 2018 Part of the Titanic’s starboard side hull, the largest artifact recovered from the ship to date, is on display. Kim Windyka, Daily Intelligencer, "The 9 Best Offbeat Museums to Visit in Las Vegas," 16 June 2018 Then, at 6:12, the bow abruptly swung hard to starboard, pointing the boat almost due east. Outside Online, "In Search of the Vanished Destination," 17 Apr. 2018 The craft’s starboard bow had collapsed, spilling people overboard and slowly filling the vessel with water. Hereward Holland, National Geographic, "An Up-Close Look at Refugee Rescues on the Mediterranean," 12 Sep. 2016 Video released by the U.S. Central Command shows the Iranian vessel approaching the Thunderbolt’s starboard side, extremely close to the ship’s bow. Andrew Degrandpre, Washington Post, "An Iranian ship refused to heed the Navy’s warning. Then shots were fired.," 25 July 2017 Seven sailors had been missing following the 2:30 a.m. incident, in which a Japanese-chartered container ship named the ACX Crystal broadsided the USS Fitzgerald, caving in part of the destroyer’s starboard side. Chas Danner, Daily Intelligencer, "Several Sailors Found Dead After Collision of U.S. Destroyer and Merchant Ship," 18 June 2017 The craft’s starboard bow had collapsed, spilling people overboard and slowly filling the vessel with water. Hereward Holland, National Geographic, "An Up-Close Look at Refugee Rescues on the Mediterranean," 12 Sep. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'starboard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of starboard


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for starboard


Middle English sterbord, from Old English stēorbord, from stēor- steering oar + bord ship's side — more at steer, board entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about starboard

Statistics for starboard

Last Updated

3 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for starboard

The first known use of starboard was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for starboard



English Language Learners Definition of starboard

: the side of a ship or aircraft that is on the right when you are looking toward the front


star·​board | \ ˈstär-bərd How to pronounce starboard (audio) \

Kids Definition of starboard

: the right side of a ship or airplane looking forward

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on starboard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with starboard

Spanish Central: Translation of starboard

Nglish: Translation of starboard for Spanish Speakers

Comments on starboard

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


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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