Origin of starboard

before 900; Middle English sterbord (noun), Old English stēorbord, equivalent to stēor steering (see steer1) + bord side (see board)
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British Dictionary definitions for starboard



the right side of an aeroplane or vessel when facing the nose or bowCompare port 2


relating to or on the starboard


to turn or be turned towards the starboard

Word Origin for starboard

Old English stēorbord, literally: steering side, from stēor steering paddle + bord side; see steer 1, board; from the fact that boats were formerly steered by a paddle held over the right-hand side
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 starboard

Old English steorbord, literally "side on which a vessel was steered," from steor- "rudder, steering paddle" (see steer (v.)) + bord "ship's side" (see board (n.2)). Cf. Old Norse stjornborði, Low German stürbord, German Steuerbord.

Early Germanic peoples' boats were propelled and steered by a paddle on the right side. French tribord (Old French estribord), Italian stribordo are Germanic loan-words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper