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

Alternative forms[edit]


PIE roots

From Middle English herber, herberge, from Old English herebeorg ‎(shelter, lodgings, quarters), from Proto-Germanic *harjabergō ‎(army shelter, refuge), from *harjaz ‎(army) + *bergō ‎(protection), equivalent to Old English here ‎(army, host) + beorg ‎(defense, protection, refuge). Cognate with Old Norse herbergi ‎(a harbour; a room) (whence the Icelandic herbergi), Dutch herberg, German Herberge ‎(hospice), Swedish härbärge. Compare also French auberge ‎(hostel). More at here, borrow.



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harbour ‎(plural harbours) (Britain, Canada)

  1. (obsolete, uncountable) Shelter, refuge.
  2. A place of shelter or refuge.
    The neighbourhood is a well-known harbour for petty thieves.
  3. (obsolete) A house of the zodiac.
    • Late 14th century: To ech of hem his tyme and his seson, / As thyn herberwe chaungeth lowe or heighe — Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘The Franklin’s Tale’, Canterbury Tales
  4. A sheltered area for ships; a piece of water adjacent to land in which ships may stop to load and unload.
    The city has an excellent natural harbour.
  5. (astrology) The mansion of a heavenly body.
  6. A mixing box for materials in glass-working.

Derived terms[edit]



harbour ‎(third-person singular simple present harbours, present participle harbouring, simple past and past participle harboured)

  1. (transitive) To provide shelter or refuge for.
    The docks, which once harboured tall ships, now harbour only petty thieves.
    • Bishop Burnet
      The bare suspicion made it treason to harbour the person suspected.
    • Rowe
      Let not your gentle breast harbour one thought of outrage.
  2. (transitive) To accept, as with a belief.
    That scientist harbours the belief that God created humans.
    • 2012 September 7, Phil McNulty, “Moldova 0-5 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      If Moldova harboured even the slightest hopes of pulling off a comeback that would have bordered on miraculous given their lack of quality, they were snuffed out 13 minutes before the break when Oxlade-Chamberlain picked his way through midfield before releasing Defoe for a finish that should have been dealt with more convincingly by Namasco at his near post.


See also[edit]