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wharf

[hwawrf, wawrf]
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noun, plural wharves [hwawrvz, wawrvz] /ʰwɔrvz, wɔrvz/, wharfs.
  1. a structure built on the shore of or projecting into a harbor, stream, etc., so that vessels may be moored alongside to load or unload or to lie at rest; quay; pier.
  2. Obsolete.
    1. a riverbank.
    2. the shore of the sea.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to provide with a wharf or wharves.
  2. to place or store on a wharf: The schedule allowed little time to wharf the cargo.
  3. to accommodate at or bring to a wharf: The new structure will wharf several vessels.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to tie up at a wharf; dock: The ship wharfed in the early morning.
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Origin of wharf

before 1050; Middle English (noun); Old English hwearf embankment; cognate with Middle Low German warf; akin to German Werf pier
Can be confuseddock harbor pier wharf
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wharf

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "Looks as if there were something doing there," said Percival, as they drove off the wharf.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • We all went ashore in this canoe, then, and were soon alongside of a wharf.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • There was no wharf, and it was always necessary to get ashore through a surf.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • When we got back to Charleston, our ship lay at her own wharf, and I saw nothing of my chap.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Two of them bore a small chest which they set down on the wharf.

    Poisoned Air

    Sterner St. Paul Meek


British Dictionary definitions for wharf

wharf

noun plural wharves (wɔːvz) or wharfs
  1. a platform of timber, stone, concrete, etc, built parallel to the waterfront at a harbour or navigable river for the docking, loading, and unloading of ships
  2. the wharves NZ the working area of a dock
  3. an obsolete word for shore 1
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verb (tr)
  1. to moor or dock at a wharf
  2. to provide or equip with a wharf or wharves
  3. to store or unload on a wharf
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Word Origin

Old English hwearf heap; related to Old Saxon hwarf, Old High German hwarb a turn, Old Norse hvarf circle
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 wharf

n.

late Old English hwearf "shore, bank where ships can tie up," earlier "dam, embankment," from Proto-Germanic *khwarfaz (cf. Middle Low German werf "mole, dam, wharf," German Werft "shipyard, dockyard"); related to Old English hwearfian "to turn," perhaps in a sense implying "busy activity," from PIE root *kwerp- "to turn, revolve" (cf. Old Norse hverfa "to turn round," German werben "to enlist, solicit, court, woo," Gothic hvairban "to wander," Greek kartos "wrist," Sanskrit surpam "winnowing fan"). Wharf rat "person who hangs around docks" is recorded from 1836.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper