Origin of pier

before 1150; Middle English pere, earlier (perhaps late Old English) per < Anglo-Latin pera, pēra pier of a bridge
Related formsun·der·pier, noun
Can be confuseddock harbor pier wharf
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pier

Contemporary Examples of pier

Historical Examples of pier

  • Hope came down on the pier to Malbone, who was looking at the boats.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • On the south side of the pier a man had just tied up a motor-boat.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Seeing a pier jutting out, he heedlessly followed it to the very end.

  • The pier is all but on the bowsprit, and you think you are there—roll, roar, wash!

  • Now we were moving in close to the pier, with a whole fleet of tugs around us.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

British Dictionary definitions for pier



a structure with a deck that is built out over water, and used as a landing place, promenade, etc
a pillar that bears heavy loads, esp one of rectangular cross section
the part of a wall between two adjacent openings
another name for buttress (def. 1)

Word Origin for pier

C12 per, from Anglo-Latin pera pier supporting a bridge
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

Word Origin and History for pier

mid-12c., "support of a span of a bridge," from Medieval Latin pera, of unknown origin, perhaps from Old North French pire "a breakwater," from Vulgar Latin *petricus, from Latin petra "rock" (see petrous), but OED is against this. Meaning "solid structure in a harbor, used as a landing place for vessels," is attested from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper