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[hahr-ber] /ˈhɑr bər/
a part of a body of water along the shore deep enough for anchoring a ship and so situated with respect to coastal features, whether natural or artificial, as to provide protection from winds, waves, and currents.
such a body of water having docks or port facilities.
any place of shelter or refuge:
The old inn was a harbor for tired travelers.
verb (used with object)
to give shelter to; offer refuge to:
They harbored the refugees who streamed across the borders.
to conceal; hide:
to harbor fugitives.
to keep or hold in the mind; maintain; entertain:
to harbor suspicion.
to house or contain.
to shelter (a vessel), as in a harbor.
verb (used without object)
(of a vessel) to take shelter in a harbor.
Also, especially British, harbour.
Origin of harbor
before 1150; Middle English herber(we), herberge, Old English herebeorg lodgings, quarters (here army + (ge)beorg refuge); cognate with German Herberge
Related forms
harborer, noun
harborless, adjective
harborous, adjective
unharbored, adjective
Can be confused
dock, harbor, pier, wharf (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. Harbor, haven, port indicate a shelter for ships. A harbor may be natural or artificially constructed or improved: a fine harbor on the eastern coast. A haven is usually a natural harbor that can be utilized by ships as a place of safety; the word is common in literary use: a haven in time of storm; a haven of refuge. A port is a harbor viewed especially in its commercial relations, though it is frequently applied in the meaning of harbor or haven also: a thriving port; any old port in a storm. 3. asylum, sanctuary, retreat. 4. protect, lodge. 6. See cherish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for harbored
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From there, looking off to the left, up the cliffs, she would see the spot which Lee believed had harbored one of the riflemen.

    Judith of Blue Lake Ranch Jackson Gregory
  • No thought of supremacy or greater advancement should be harbored for a moment.

    The Right Knock Helen Van-Anderson
  • He is known to have harbored as many as eight and ten in a single night, in his lowly tenement.

    The Old Pike Thomas B. Searight
  • I harbored you, thinking you were a frightened fugitive, and you weren't.

  • A light streamed from out the front windows, but, uncertain who might be harbored within, Keith tapped gently at the back door.

    Keith of the Border Randall Parrish
Word Origin and History for harbored



"lodging for ships," early 12c., probably from Old English herebeorg "lodgings, quarters," from here "army, host" (see harry) + beorg "refuge, shelter" (related to beorgan "save, preserve;" see bury); perhaps modeled on Old Norse herbergi "room, lodgings, quarters." Sense shifted in Middle English to "refuge, lodgings," then to "place of shelter for ships."


Old English hereborgian, cognate with Old Norse herbergja, Old High German heribergon, Middle Dutch herbergen; see harbor (n.). Figuratively, of thoughts, etc., from late 14c. Related: Harbored; harboring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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