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See also: Harbor


The harbour (sheltered area for ships) of Bonifacio, Corsica.

Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English herberwe, herber, from Old English herebeorg (shelter, lodgings, quarters), from Proto-West Germanic *harjabergu (army shelter, refuge), from *harjaz (army) + *bergō (protection), equivalent to Old English here (army, host) + beorg (defense, protection, refuge).

See also West Frisian herberch (inn), Dutch herberg (inn), German Herberge; also Old Norse herbergi (a harbour; a room) (whence Icelandic herbergi), Dutch herberg, German Herberge (inn, hostel, shelter), Swedish härbärge. Compare also French auberge (hostel). More at here, harry, borrow and bury. Doublet of harbinger.


harbor (countable and uncountable, plural harbors) (American spelling)

  1. (countable) Any place of shelter.
    The neighborhood is a well-known harbor for petty thieves.
  2. (countable, nautical) A sheltered expanse of water, adjacent to land, in which ships may anchor or dock, especially for loading and unloading.
  3. (countable, glassworking) A mixing box for materials.
  4. (obsolete, countable) A house of the zodiac, or the mansion of a heavenly body.
  5. (obsolete, uncountable) Shelter, refuge.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Cebuano: harbor
  • Marshallese: aba
  • Welsh: harbwr

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English herberwen, herbere, from Old English herebeorgian (to take up one's quarters, lodge), from the noun (see above).


harbor (third-person singular simple present harbors, present participle harboring, simple past and past participle harbored) (American spelling)

  1. (transitive) To provide a harbor or safe place for.
    The docks, which once harbored tall ships, now harbor only petty thieves.
    • 2013 May-June, Katie L. Burke, “In the News”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 193:
      Bats host many high-profile viruses that can infect humans, including severe acute respiratory syndrome and Ebola. A recent study explored the ecological variables that may contribute to bats’ propensity to harbor such zoonotic diseases by comparing them with another order of common reservoir hosts: rodents.
  2. (intransitive) To take refuge or shelter in a protected expanse of water.
    The fleet harbored in the south.
  3. (transitive) To drive (a hunted stag) to covert.
    • 1819, John Mayer, The Sportsman's Directory, or Park and Gamekeeper's Companion:
      This is the time that the horseman are flung out, not having the cry to lead them to the death. When quadruped animals of the venery or hunting kind are at rest, the stag is said to be harboured, the buck lodged, the fox kennelled, the badger earthed, the otter vented or watched, the hare formed, and the rabbit set.
  4. (transitive) To hold or persistently entertain in one's thoughts or mind.
    She harbors a conviction that her husband has a secret, criminal past.
    • 2007, Abraham J. Twerski, Happiness and the Human Spirit: The Spirituality of Becoming the Best You Can be, Jewish Lights Publishing, →ISBN, page 133:
      He said, “I am full of anger and bitterness at those people, but I will go to an AA meeting today and try to divest myself of these resentments, because if I hang on to resentments, I will drink again.” It occurred to me that this man was fortunate in being aware that harboring resentments is destructive.
    • 2013, Sandra Brown, Where There's Smoke, Hachette UK, →ISBN, page 268:
      Once I returned to the U.S., rather than harboring a grudge toward my captors, I would insist on being reassigned to Montesangre, reopening the embassy, and reestablishing diplomatic relations with the new regime.
    • 2019, Sophie Hannah, How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment—The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life, Simon and Schuster, →ISBN, page 43:
      No one is saying that we should forget important parts of our own life stories. But that's not the same thing as harboring a grudge, is it?
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]




From English harbor, from Middle English herberwen, herberȝen, from Middle English herebeorgian (to take up one's quarters, lodge).


  • Hyphenation: har‧bor



  1. (slang) to appropriate another person's property



  1. (slang) appropriation; an act or instance of appropriating

Derived terms[edit]

  • harbor