Definition of berth in English:



  • 1A ship's allotted place at a wharf or dock.

    ‘the vessel had left its berth’
    • ‘The development proposal includes a new bayside village with 800 waterfront blocks, up to 200 marina berths, a community yacht club, new beaches and waterfront parks.’
    • ‘On the local waterway there is an increasing demand for marina berths.’
    • ‘A private marina of 60 berths will be built at a later stage.’
    • ‘A safety zone was established around all visiting Navy and foreign ships as they transited to their berths at the piers on the Hudson River.’
    • ‘While there is no waiting list for berths on the marina, the pontoons that have been installed further upstream have already attracted enquiries from boat owners.’
    • ‘It is already privately owned by the 700 berth holders who own berths there and who pay rent on them.’
    • ‘The Government panicked and announced that the airport would be closed all day today, the cruise ships left their berths to head out to deeper water, while first reports suggested that the storm would be here by midnight.’
    • ‘We will now provide two finger wharves with 20 public berths and you'll see a total revamp.’
    • ‘Sailing is a favourite pastime and the estate has its own marina, with berths available to hire.’
    • ‘That afternoon and for most of the next day, we went in and out, alongside from every direction, picked up buoys, anchored, and entered and left marina berths.’
    • ‘It's an attraction in itself to rise early in the morning to watch the enormous luxury liners taxiing into a berth at the wharf near the bauxite terminal.’
    • ‘Besides, a quota of 40 berths is allotted for each continent.’
    • ‘The total quay length measures 2630m and the port offers 11 commercial shipping berths, a repair quay and a drydock.’
    • ‘During early 2000, the system was used to guide a large ship to its berth in the harbour at Genoa, Italy.’
    • ‘He looked dully around, then realised that the boat was not at its berth in the marina.’
    • ‘And although discussions are still ongoing, Scotland Yard today refused to rule out a mooring berth for the container-like ship off the coast.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the board heard that it has been a good season for the marina and all permanent berths have been allocated.’
    • ‘Entertainers from all over the world will take part in the city-wide entertainment that will accompany the berthing of the ships in the city - all in the original berths taken by tall ships decades ago.’
    • ‘There are equally ambitious plans to turn the former docks into a new berth for cruise liners, injecting £40m of tourism income into the economy.’
    • ‘They reached the berth where his ship was currently docked.’
    docking site, anchorage, mooring
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  • 2A fixed bunk on a ship, train, or other means of transport.

    ‘I'll sleep in the upper berth’
    in combination ‘a four-berth caravan’
    • ‘Luckily I got a reserved berth and the train left for Kolkatta on schedule.’
    • ‘The five factors were age, passenger capacity, the number of berths and cabins, the number of lane metres, the car carrying capacity and the speed.’
    • ‘My daughter quickly took the upper berth and was soon fast asleep.’
    • ‘Depending on the cabins, there are queen berths, twins, or upper/lowers.’
    • ‘The cabins are a wonder of microdesign, a snug berth, a washbasin and room to turn round, almost.’
    • ‘A man appears silently and puts a pile of thin books on one of the berths in our compartment.’
    • ‘Unobserved, he took the vacant upper berth of a crowded compartment and overheard the loud conversation of a group of British officers.’
    • ‘There are overweight ones who shudder at the thought of having to sleep on an upper berth in a train.’
    • ‘Even though modern train berths are masterfully designed to use every inch of space, you won't be spreading your arms and twirling around much.’
    • ‘But, we were young, and the campers enjoyed swinging from one upper berth to another as they had in earlier trips.’
    • ‘For a change he hadn't been sea sick, even having to share a six berth cabin, throbbing with the heat and noise of the engine, deep in the bowels of the ferry.’
    • ‘Despite being crammed on an upper berth, a group of little children seems cheerful.’
    • ‘Check the sleeping arrangements carefully: There's usually a mix of larger cabins with full beds and tiny compartments with upper and lower berths.’
    • ‘We relished that sundown for hours afterwards, when we lay in our berths, letting the train's gentle rocks lull us into safe slumber.’
    • ‘We slept over in the cabin and I was given an upper berth in one of the rooms.’
    • ‘He wanted her co-passenger to go to the upper berth.’
    • ‘So they'd hide me in an upper berth and that's where I'd sleep.’
    • ‘In my upper berth, there were a couple times when I was sure that we'd derailed.’
    • ‘Our 42-footer had four spacious cabins with doubles and two cabins with single berths.’
    • ‘It's rough being in the upper berth in a two-story train.’
    bunk, bed, bunk bed, cot, couch, hammock
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  • 3informal (often in a sporting context) a position in an organization or event.

    ‘he looked at home in an unfamiliar right-back berth’
    • ‘This is sure to draw a huge crowd to the local venue and there will be much at stake as both teams strive to secure a semi-final berth.’
    • ‘The hosts had failed to win a berth in the mega event despite being given two chances.’
    • ‘The semi-final berths were secured by the top ranked teams from each of the four regional areas who now progress through to the business end of the tournament.’
    • ‘The early game between Chile and the USA was decisive for both teams, with the winner earning a berth in the semi-finals.’
    • ‘His first year competing in the Senior level, he did remarkably well in a very competitive series to reach the semi-final berth.’
    • ‘As she got used to the testing conditions, she pushed through to the third and final qualifying position, denying her opponent of a semi-final berth.’
    • ‘Spain, Holland, Germany, Australia and Argentina are the strong contenders for the semi-final berths.’
    • ‘The win not only gives them a berth in the semifinals but improved the team's overall record to 33-0 as well.’
    • ‘There are only two Olympic berths in each event.’
    • ‘She will complete round-robin play against her opponent Saturday, with the winner earning a semifinal berth.’
    • ‘This earned them a spot in the playoffs where they clinched a playoff berth.’
    • ‘This year his performances have been inconsistent but his semi-final berth at a recent tournament show he is approaching peak form just in time.’
    • ‘He knelt on the mat and raised his arms in the air, crestfallen that he had been so close to a semi-final berth - and yet so far.’
    • ‘India also would be looking for a victory to book a berth in the finals as their final match is against Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘The Thunderbirds, on the other hand, have rattled off four consecutive victories and clinched a berth in the post-season with the victory.’
    • ‘Achieving a semi-final berth for some is a huge achievement.’
    • ‘We needed to beat these guys to clinch the playoff berth for us.’
    • ‘It took a crushing 6-0 victory on the last day of the Group 3 campaign to clinch their berth at the finals.’
    • ‘The men in blue were looking to seal the semi-finals berth of World Cup cricket against Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘The six gymnasts who competed on each event earned their berths at the semi-final competition held two weeks ago.’


[with object]
  • 1Moor (a ship) in its allotted place.

    ‘they planned to berth HMS Impregnable at Portsmouth’
    • ‘However, this is a canal basin with a few barges on it, not a yachting marina where you berth a boat ready to sail.’
    • ‘The captain trusted me to berth the ship at the wharf.’
    • ‘Cumberland provided a number of different evolutions, including berthing the ship, replenishing at sea, manoeuvring in confined waters and witnessing machinery breakdown drills.’
    • ‘She also voiced her concern about long time boat owners who might now face new charges for berthing their boats at the marina.’
    • ‘This act was framed rather badly in a more gracious age, when owners of river bank had a traditional right to berth their boats on that bankside.’
    • ‘The highest cliffs in Europe are a short distance from the pier where he berths his vessel.’
    • ‘The Company intend berthing a cruise ship at the Pier to provide additional visitor accommodation.’
    • ‘‘The Princess has berthed her yacht here for a number of years and has been in,’ he added, ‘but we like to give all our customers privacy’.’
    • ‘A short walk brings you to the private lakeshore, which would be suitable for berthing a small craft.’
    • ‘Experts from the government, port and bridge administration made the final arrangements to berth the ship after several discussions.’
    • ‘Presently it is difficult to locate a mooring to berth a boat for the night, let alone find one to tie to while diving.’
    • ‘Strategically located naval bases capable of berthing the carriers would also have to be constructed, adding to the already burdensome bill.’
    • ‘Plans to berth a floating hotel have been given the thumbs down, according to the results of the latest online poll conducted on the website.’
    • ‘The Port Authority said it had to choose between berthing its own ferries and the cruise ship.’
    • ‘The harbour has a good track record of being able to berth ships on arrival.’
    moor, harbour, be at anchor, tie up
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    1. 1.1no object (of a ship) dock.
      ‘the ship berthed at Plymouth’
      • ‘Now, the Port Trust is planning to add a dedicated terminal for cruise vessels berthing here.’
      • ‘When it became known that both ships had berthed in Brest, Bomber Command made them a primary target following an order from Winston Churchill.’
      • ‘Having originally left the harbour on Sunday, February 16, the ship berthed in Florida at the Maritime Museum's dock.’
      • ‘Two ships a day would berth there, each loaded with 200 containers.’
      • ‘Although it is usual for ships to berth on arrival, there are times when vessels face delays of up to ten days waiting at the pilot station before being allowed into port.’
      • ‘Edward VIII frequently dined there when he was Prince of Wales, and, the night after the boats from India berthed at the London docks, there was always an influx of maharajahs.’
      • ‘Discovery is the second cruise ship to berth at Milford Haven this year.’
      • ‘Fifteen of the 104 tall ships sailing to Newcastle berthed at Whitby over the weekend - attracting large crowds to the port.’
      • ‘The 21,000-ton ship berthed at Greenwich to commemorate the new affiliation between Illustrious and the City of London.’
      • ‘The crew flurried up like a torrent of snowflakes, cast about in attempts to fulfill commands as the ship berthed.’
      • ‘Later that morning, the ship berthed alongside in Darwin which allowed the ship's company to participate in a number of local commemoration events.’
      • ‘The largest ship of its kind in the world, the new superferry berthed at the new ferry terminal, just after 8am yesterday following her overnight voyage from Rotterdam.’
      • ‘Its members have been checking underwater structures and helping the Coast Guard patrol the harbor whenever a cruise liner berths.’
      • ‘Joe had obtained work there so when the ship berthed at Auckland he asked for directions to the little settlement.’
      • ‘The ship berthed at Circular Quay, and it was a marvellous sight.’
      • ‘Although several yachts have berthed next to the new breakwater wall, the catamaran was the first to use the pontoons, which have been moved during the past two weeks.’
      • ‘There are no gates, just airlocks placed as close to each other as they could be while still allowing ships to berth.’
      • ‘Other ships berthed there included HMA Ships Success, Manoora, Sydney Newcastle, Tobruk and the submarine Farncomb.’
      • ‘Both of the children, agreeing their day was much better than being at school, spent several hours on the ship receiving a tour and lunch before the ship berthed.’
      • ‘The ships will berth on the city's quays, allowing visitors a chance to get up close to the world-class vessels.’
      dock, moor, land, tie up, make fast
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  • 2(of a passenger ship) provide a sleeping place for (someone).

    • ‘Although we were berthed in tourist class, there didn’t seem any problem with us having the “run of the ship”.’
    • ‘Many of the passengers were berthed in the aircraft hangars, and although the hangar doors had been welded shut to give them some security, nothing could be done in a tempest like this to make anyone feel safe.’
    • ‘We were berthed in the forward hold in tiers of hammocks.’
    • ‘Passengers are berthed in Staterooms, on the forward Main Deck on all steamers, except "Columbia" and "Astoria," on which they are situated in after part of Spar and Main Decks.’
    accommodate, sleep, provide beds for, put up, house, shelter, lodge
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  • give someone/something a wide berth

    • 1Steer a ship well clear of something while passing it.

      ‘ships are advised to give the islands a wide berth’
      • ‘When they neared Barbers Point they too saw a large column of ‘Army’ planes and so gave them a wide berth and continued on toward Ford Island.’
      • ‘Yet for all the masterful handling of the ship by the coxswain it became quite noticeable that we gave a wide berth to the other ship.’
      • ‘Recreational boaters are advised to give a wide berth to the massive cruise ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 when they visit Sydney Harbour tomorrow.’
      • ‘The anchor was weighed, the sails set and with the canoe in tow the little vessel bounded merrily over the waters, gave a wide berth to the reef, against whose frowning rocks the sea still lashed itself to foam, and kept away from the cove, where the English ship unconsciously awaited us.’
      • ‘Give a wide berth to the foaming surf, and hug these cliffs, or before you can stop her the ship may take us over there and we'll be wrecked.’
      1. 1.1Stay away from someone or something.
        ‘I'd sworn to give women a wide berth’
        • ‘Jon and Laura have wandered in and are giving the interview a wide berth.’
        • ‘Interest in the game here is so low that the sports betting agencies seem to be giving it a wide berth.’
        • ‘Now the doctors are recommending that people being screened for the disease give the dish a wide berth for a few days before going to hospital.’
        • ‘The best advice is to give all thunderstorms a wide berth and not to even think about deliberately penetrating a storm front.’
        • ‘Some people give you a wide berth when you are ill because they can't handle it.’
        • ‘The slow trade could be because the traditional high-spenders, from countries such as Japan and the United States, are still giving the country a wide berth.’
        • ‘Our backpacks remained unstolen; the average European gave us a wide berth.’
        • ‘The best approach is to avoid accidents and helmets actually lead to more accidents, so give them a wide berth and stay safe.’
        • ‘International visitors are giving the country a wide berth, partly because of misconceptions about the foot - and-mouth epidemic, and there are fears that the summer season could be disastrous.’
        • ‘If you are someone that is easily swayed by advertisements, try to give them a wide berth.’
        • ‘Every sensible consumer should be giving these products a wide berth.’
        • ‘Personally, I would give both companies a wide berth because both they are too highly geared for my liking.’
        • ‘Surely it has been taken off the menu by now - but if not, give it a wide berth.’
        • ‘But she has toyed with my affections once too often and I gave her a wide berth.’
        • ‘I'd enjoyed my time with Paol, but decided to give his band a wide berth.’
        • ‘People eyed them uneasily as they passed, giving the trio a wide berth.’
        • ‘However, fans of both directors should give this unwise collaboration a wide berth.’
        • ‘Certain methods of earning a living would be given a wide berth by most individuals, instinctively.’
        • ‘The other gangs tended to give them a wide berth.’
        • ‘Most people give them a wide berth and casually ignore their messages of doom.’
        avoid, shun, keep away from, stay away from, steer clear of, keep at arm's length, fight shy of, have nothing to do with, have no truck with, have no dealings with, have no contact with, give someone a miss, give something a miss
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Early 17th century (in the sense ‘adequate sea room’): probably from a nautical use of bear + -th.