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ste·​ve·​dore ˈstē-və-ˌdȯr How to pronounce stevedore (audio)
 also  ˈstēv-ˌdȯr
: one who works at or is responsible for loading and unloading ships in port


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stevedored; stevedoring

transitive verb

: to handle (cargo) as a stevedore
also : to load or unload the cargo of (a ship) in port

intransitive verb

: to work as a stevedore

Examples of stevedore in a Sentence

Noun on the wharves, stevedores were unloading cargo from the far corners of the world
Recent Examples on the Web
The fire began on the ship’s 10th deck as crew members and local stevedores were loading vehicles, according to Grimaldi. Elise Young, New York Times, 6 July 2023 An unemployed former stevedore, Kenneth Humphrey, had followed an elderly man into his apartment and stolen $7 in cash and a bottle of cologne. Jesse Barron, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2022 More like San Pedro, with a working man, a stevedore — Boston College guard Zion Johnson. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Apr. 2022 By his twentieth birthday, having discovered that he wasn’t cut out for the back-breaking life of a longshoreman or stevedore, P.J. tried his hand as a brass finisher at an East Boston machine shop. Neal Thompson, Town & Country, 22 Feb. 2022 Drafted into the Army in 1943 at age 19, he was deployed to Europe as a stevedore in an all-Black unit. Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2022 Bearing a scythe, a hoe, and a stevedore’s hook, the women appear ready for action. Steven Litt, cleveland, 17 Oct. 2021 Stevedores board ships to operate the cranes mounted on deck, and the rotor sails seemed to be partially blocking this stevedore’s line of sight. New York Times, 24 June 2021 Weeksville is an extraordinary museum in central Brooklyn dedicated to the history of the free Black community that was founded there in 1838, when a Black stevedore named James Weeks first purchased the property. New York Times, 5 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stevedore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Spanish estibador, from estibar to pack — more at steeve

First Known Use


1788, in the meaning defined above


1862, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of stevedore was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near stevedore

Cite this Entry

“Stevedore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a person who loads and unloads boats in port


from Spanish estibador "stevedore," from estibar "to pack"

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