[ burth ]
See synonyms for: berthberthedberthing on

  1. a shelflike sleeping space, as on a ship, airplane, or railroad car.

  2. Nautical.

    • the space allotted to a vessel at anchor or at a wharf.

    • the distance maintained between a vessel and the shore, another vessel, or any object.

    • the position or rank of a ship's officer.

    • the cabin of a ship's officer.

  1. a job; position.

  2. a place, listing, or role: She clinched a berth on our tennis team.

verb (used with object)
  1. Nautical.

    • to allot to (a vessel) a certain space at which to anchor or tie up.

    • 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.

Idioms about berth

  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.

Origin of berth

First recorded in 1615–25; probably equivalent to bear1 + -th1

Other words for berth

Other words from berth

  • un·berth, verb (used with object)

Words that may be confused with berth Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use berth in a sentence

  • Then they towed her up the channel—it was dead to leeward and an easy job—and berthed her near their own vessel.

    The Riddle of the Sands | Erskine Childers
  • For a few strenuous minutes we toiled at the sweeps till the Dulcibella was berthed ahead of the steamer, in deeper water.

    The Riddle of the Sands | Erskine Childers
  • A large vessel containing bales of jute is berthed on the quay-side adjoining the jute sheds in Fig. 6.

  • And where are you berthed, and what cargo of this worlds goods have you got in your lockers?

    Cursed | George Allan England
  • At last an escort came: we were berthed and lay about waiting for the dawn.

British Dictionary definitions for berth


/ (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

  1. nautical sufficient distance from the shore or from other ships or objects for a ship to manoeuvre

  2. give a wide berth to to keep clear of; avoid

  3. nautical accommodation on a ship

  4. 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)

  1. (tr) to provide with a sleeping place, as on a vessel or train

  2. (intr) nautical to pick up a mooring in an anchorage

Origin of berth

C17: probably from bear 1 + -th 1

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with berth


see give a wide berth to.

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