View synonyms for berth


[ burth ]


  1. a shelflike sleeping space, as on a ship, airplane, or railroad car.
  2. Nautical.
    1. the space allotted to a vessel at anchor or at a wharf.
    2. the distance maintained between a vessel and the shore, another vessel, or any object.
    3. the position or rank of a ship's officer.
    4. the cabin of a ship's officer.
  3. a job; position.
  4. a place, listing, or role:

    She clinched a berth on our tennis team.

    Synonyms: appointment, niche, post, position, slot, spot

verb (used with object)

  1. Nautical.
    1. to allot to (a vessel) a certain space at which to anchor or tie up.
    2. to bring to or install in a berth, anchorage, or moorage:

      The captain had to berth the ship without the aid of tugboats.

  2. to provide with a sleeping space, as on a train.

verb (used without object)

  1. Nautical. to come to a dock, anchorage, or moorage.


/ bɜːθ /


  1. a bed or bunk in a vessel or train, usually narrow and fixed to a wall
  2. nautical a place assigned to a ship at a mooring
  3. nautical sufficient distance from the shore or from other ships or objects for a ship to manoeuvre
  4. give a wide berth to
    to keep clear of; avoid
  5. nautical accommodation on a ship
  6. informal.
    a job, esp as a member of a ship's crew


  1. tr nautical to assign a berth to (a vessel)
  2. nautical to dock (a vessel)
  3. tr to provide with a sleeping place, as on a vessel or train
  4. intr nautical to pick up a mooring in an anchorage

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Other Words From

  • un·berth verb (used with object)

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Word History and Origins

Origin of berth1

First recorded in 1615–25; probably equivalent to bear 1 + -th 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of berth1

C17: probably from bear 1+ -th 1

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. give a wide berth to, to shun; remain discreetly away from:

    Since his riding accident, he has given a wide berth to skittish horses.

More idioms and phrases containing berth

see give a wide berth to .

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Example Sentences

Then to close out the season, Washington returns home for meetings with Rivera’s old team, the Panthers, and the Seattle Seahawks, before heading to Philadelphia with possibly a playoff berth on the line.

After everyone cooled down, the 6-3 teams, in contention for a wild-card berth, turned their attention to football.

From here, Ohio State needs to sweep Illinois, Michigan State and Michigan — none of whom will escape this weekend with a winning record — and then defeat the Big Ten West champ to effectively sew up a playoff berth.

Like at airports, berths are used by multiple ships, and a late ship can cause larger delays in the system.

It ended, as Butler was leading Miami to a berth in the NBA Finals, with a first-round sweep and the dismissal of head coach Brett Brown.

Applying the Fourth Amendment to street stops, the Court has long preferred bright, clear rules that give wide berth to police.

Only then would a racer likely get a chance at a World Cup berth, from the very back of the start list.

Nobody wants to come anywhere near you, and the more expensive the other car, the wider berth it allows.

Still, I retain hope that—given its midseason berth—NBC can tweak this enough to improve on an underwhelming first showing.

They arranged for a berth for Liebling on LCI(L)-88, one of the first large landing crafts scheduled to hit Omaha.

He showed his wisdom in giving the Pandemonium card-room a very wide berth for the rest of his days.

Let the young philosopher avoid such practice, and give a wide berth to those who follow them.

This was not a bad idea, although the stranger shuddered as he thought of his ill-smelling stateroom and short berth.

This seemed reasonable, and the people settled upon it, and gave him a wide berth as one who wished to be let alone.

He kept his official berth, and continued to go into society, frequenting dances and theatres.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.