Definition of harbour in English:


(US harbor)


  • 1A place on the coast where ships may moor in shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.

    ‘the curved breakwater was built of large stones to construct a small harbour’
    ‘the westerly wind kept us in harbour until the following afternoon’
    • ‘The harbor is protected by a long jetty running more or less north and south, and you have to enter at the southern end.’
    • ‘Each one has a responsibility for protecting our coasts, borders and harbors.’
    • ‘During the storms of winter ships in the harbour were drydocked for repairs and refitting.’
    • ‘Its members have been checking underwater structures and helping the Coast Guard patrol the harbor whenever a cruise liner berths.’
    • ‘The yard and slipway led to the harbour where the ships were serviced.’
    • ‘At times there could be 100 ocean-going ships in harbour - goods were on sale in her warehouses from around the world.’
    • ‘Ports that usually average 30 to 35 ships in harbor, now have 60 to 65.’
    • ‘The Royal Navy assumed that Raeder, the head of the German Navy, would not tolerate three ships remaining in harbour and not doing anything.’
    • ‘The funny thing was that the Japanese irezumi artists now got new clients - the sailors from the foreign ships anchoring in Japanese harbors.’
    • ‘It is mostly the fishermen that make use of the harbour with big ships docking occasionally.’
    • ‘During the sailing season large numbers of yachts berth at the harbour, hampering the movement of container ships and larger fishing vessels.’
    • ‘Galveston Bay and other bay systems along the middle and upper coast have deep water (ship channels, harbors, deep natural cuts) into which fish can flee during cold weather.’
    • ‘She swallowed and rushed in. ‘I'm here to ask about the berths available on the ships in harbour.’’
    • ‘But instead of issuing forth to finish off the demoralized Japanese squadron the Russian ships remained safely in harbour.’
    • ‘The only light came from the two cruise ships moored in the harbour.’
    • ‘That night, while Laurel was brushing her teeth, I stared out our window at the cruise ships docked in the harbor.’
    • ‘The ship docked in the harbour here on Monday night and the captain was given the option to pay the fine or appear in court.’
    • ‘They will then sail down the harbour while ships alongside pay their respect.’
    • ‘Many of the structures (jetties, harbours, sea walls, breakwaters) built by society disrupt the natural coastal processes and consequently result in erosion and deposition.’
    • ‘Big conger inhabit a number of environments, including deep water rock marks, harbours, jetties, piers, breakwaters and the odd sandy beach!’
    port, dock, haven, marina, dockyard, boatyard, mooring, anchorage, roads, waterfront
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    1. 1.1 A place of refuge.
      ‘a safe harbour for children in distress’
      • ‘But now you no longer need a safe harbor from U.S. monetary tightening, so Malaysia shouldn't be selling at a premium.’
      • ‘Obviously, if you offer a safe harbor, some agents just won't bother to learn new skills.’
      • ‘Self-regulation can work if there is both a default rule urging for its fine tuning (via contract), and a common sharing of values upon which to build the needed exceptions and safe harbours.’
      • ‘In a positive effort to stop the cycle of incarceration among children of prisoners, the camp experience has become a safe harbor.’
      • ‘And away from the glamour and the excitement of the stage, there is often the hidden loneliness, the restless mind that seldom knows the calm of a safe harbour.’
      • ‘The best hope was that it would offer other safe harbors and define proportionality more flexibly.’
      • ‘To dispatch the wrong past, and recover the right one, was part and parcel of the country's overdue arrival in the safe harbour of a modern democracy.’
      • ‘Are we less than the men who left safe harbors and shouldered through cold oceans?’
      • ‘Unable to fly anywhere, they felt trapped, and looked towards Canada as their safe harbor.’
      • ‘Here is a plan that will provide a safe harbour for bikes, create a couple of part-time jobs and make money for the council to invest in cycling facilities.’
      • ‘When in doubt, speakers eagerly returned to the safe harbor of Kerry's war record.’
      • ‘Time and again, the legislation has sailed through congressional votes only to encounter choppy seas as it neared the safe harbor of enactment.’
      • ‘The Deadheads gave the Grateful Dead a steady revenue stream and a safe harbor.’
      • ‘As interest rates continue their rise in the US and the eurozone, and quite likely in Japan in the near future, it may be that some of that investment money might be returning home to safer harbours.’
      • ‘Here the nature of an inn, historically, has been as a safe harbour and secure refuge from the perils of the highway.’
      • ‘Fixed rates have long offered a safe harbour to homeowners who want the security of knowing what their monthly mortgage repayments will be for an extended period.’
      • ‘On one level the little arms around you and the fact that he regards you as a safe harbor in a pinch is a great, uplifting feeling.’
      • ‘The only women they have contact with are non-inmates, and thus these women are in positions of power: they are free to come and go, they have favors to dispense and they can offer safe harbors.’
      • ‘The girls were suddenly forced to find their safe harbor in me.’
      • ‘The ideology also affords a safe harbor of rationalization.’
      refuge, haven, safe haven, shelter, sanctuary, retreat, asylum, place of safety, place of security, port in a storm, oasis, sanctum
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[with object]
  • 1Keep (a thought or feeling, typically a negative one) in one's mind, especially secretly.

    ‘she started to harbour doubts about the wisdom of their journey’
    • ‘There is no loathing that any man harbours more intense than that towards his benefactors.’
    • ‘Many of us secretly harbor a suspicion that somebody somewhere really is finding both fun and fulfillment while being sexually promiscuous.’
    • ‘Besides, it's not healthy to harbour secret feelings for a guy.’
    • ‘It's now no secret that these two are secretly harbouring feelings for each other, but I'm doing my best to ruin things between them (primarily to get even with Robb).’
    • ‘For what group does not secretly harbor the desire to shield its truths, which it hopes are expressions of Truth itself, from a probing critique?’
    • ‘I know how it is harboring secret feelings for somebody when you don't think the time is right.’
    • ‘The prosecution proposed that Mr Gassy had harboured feelings of resentment and anger towards Dr Tobin for her part in his deregistration.’
    • ‘She knew her sister had secretly harbored feelings for her best friend and when she had realized it she also realized they looked great together.’
    • ‘He accepts they will have their work cut out but refuses to harbour any negative thoughts.’
    • ‘I just need to call him up and explain that Nate and I are just best friends, and that the idea that I was secretly harboring feelings for Nate is ridiculous.’
    • ‘Gabriel, unlike all the other characters, isn't harboring any negative feelings.’
    • ‘During the course of the evening the pair discovered they had both been secretly harbouring strong feelings for each other.’
    • ‘‘I've always harboured a secret desire to confront him, though I know it would never have been allowed,’ said Mr Mellor.’
    • ‘After that, he quickly eradicated any romantic intentions he had harbored for Captain Crowell, as she was now his commander and employer.’
    • ‘Like most girls, she harbours considerable maternal instincts.’
    • ‘‘There's no hope for him this time,’ Sandy insisted, though he was secretly harbouring a few hopes, which he badly wanted Sheila to nourish with some arguments of her own.’
    • ‘Both he and I are secretly harboring feelings for each other but are too stubborn to admit it.’
    • ‘If I am to be completely honest with myself… I have secretly harboured feelings for him since our wee junior years, though not another breathing soul would ever find out.’
    • ‘A fifth of men said their partners had secretly harboured strong feelings for another man, and 13% believed they had had illicit sex with someone else during their relationship.’
    • ‘Although the world title had brought him wealth and prestige in his home country, he secretly harboured grave doubts about the Communist system that he represented.’
    bear, nurse, nurture, cherish, entertain, foster, feel secretly, hold on to, cling to, possess, maintain, retain
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  • 2Give a home or shelter to.

    ‘woodlands that once harboured a colony of red deer’
    • ‘Colin Howes, Keeper of Environmental Records at Doncaster Museum, says there are many problems with the legend, not least of which is the location of the woodland which harboured the wild cat.’
    • ‘The girl who once called herself Jill Blando always harboured a sense of puzzlement that people found her clever, talented and beautiful.’
    • ‘Besides providing a depository for the neighbouring heavy metals refinery, Bleak Pond forms a natural sump for the surrounding agricultural land, so harbours little aquatic life.’
    • ‘These could harbor previously unknown species of marine life.’
    • ‘Instead, I wish good luck to the club that once harboured my second favourite player outside George Best, England's greatest marksman, Jimmy Greaves.’
    • ‘The play opens at the Hardcastle home - and the lazy, rural state of affairs it harbours - where Kate is soon to meet her unknown intended, Marlowe.’
    • ‘The new images showed further details of what scientists believe is the rocky bed of an ancient lake that may have once harboured life.’
    • ‘The Rann of Kutch harbours unique, and now-endangered, native flora and fauna besides considerable agro-biodiversity.’
    • ‘Both sites show evidence they once contained liquid water and might therefore harbor fossils of primitive life.’
    • ‘The marina harbours ships and yachts of the high and mighty as well as modest ones for the common man.’
    • ‘Spirit will spend the next three months searching for evidence of past water in the soil and rocks, which if found may heighten the likelihood that Mars once harboured life.’
    • ‘This rationale can be used to identify genomic regions or genes harboring mutations that maintain reproductive barriers between diverging populations.’
    • ‘The lure of the three frigid Galilean moons is that beneath their thick crust of ice may lie vast reservoirs of liquid water that harbor, or once harbored, life.’
    • ‘I learned that ships harbor a host of great places for babies to crawl and play.’
    • ‘In it, they offered a string of circumstantial evidence for Mars having once harbored life.’
    • ‘But I guess reliving a total sophomore-year-of-high school moment harbors a shred of entertainment at age 24.’
    • ‘In fact, Mars once might have harbored a planet-wide ocean.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, archaeologists had washed the other pots, which might have once harbored the marker molecules.’
    • ‘Just offshore from the Stromsholmen centre lies the island of Kvitholmen, which harbours yet more facilities for divers who want a little more seclusion.’
    • ‘These bacteria form a living mat of intertwined filaments at the surface of the stromatolite, which also harbours numerous other types of micro-organisms.’
    1. 2.1 Shelter or hide (a criminal or wanted person)
      ‘he was suspected of harbouring an escaped prisoner’
      • ‘Moreover, the logic of specialisation in the knowledge necessary to participate meaningfully in such speculative poetics harbours within it a repressed identity.’
      • ‘Unlike now when households harbour criminals and share the loot, police will always find it difficult to nail the thieves.’
      • ‘She was given an 18-month conditional discharge for harbouring a known criminal by a judge who described her actions as ‘a crime of passion’.’
      • ‘According to the report ‘the system harbours larger and heavier particles that are made of iron, rather than carbon.’’
      • ‘On January 23 the center was raided by a special SWAT-type police squad at 5 a.m. on the false claim that the center was harboring a rapist, drug dealers and felons.’
      • ‘Rather, the police should take swift and decisive action against such offenses as harboring criminals, dealing drugs and swindling people.’
      • ‘Any Haitian or Bahamian who harbours, employs, abets, or succors illegals, gets a fine and jail.’
      • ‘This 16 th-century coaching inn, in the characterful market town of Pickering, once harboured smugglers moving salt from Whitby to York.’
      • ‘Proponents argue that genetic engineering harbours enormous potential benefits to farming and the food supply around the world.’
      • ‘The minority institutions have been accused of harbouring anti-national elements and fostering anti-national culture without a shred of evidence.’
      • ‘The solution to the crime and killings is very simple: move on the so-called ‘community leaders’ who, under the disguise of religion, are harbouring criminals to do their dirty works.’
      • ‘You are under arrest for aiding the escape and harboring this vile prisoner!’
      • ‘He unveiled a raft of proposals to tighten immigration controls - including hugely increasing the maximum jail term for people harbouring illegal immigrants from six months to 14 years.’
      • ‘While some ‘book environmentalists’ may think it ideal to view country lanes/roads in this manner, in reality bad management harbours more than the odd rat and black bin bag.’
      • ‘It seems we would rather harbour war criminals than shelter innocent human beings from inhumane regimes.’
      • ‘But while the novel undoubtedly harbours darker elements, its most successful mode is deadpan humour.’
      • ‘The people who were with him are totally innocent but if they don't come forward then they are harbouring a criminal and part of this crime.’
      • ‘the solid prosperity of Britannia was never securely extended north of the Humber, where the Cumbrian mountains and Pennine chain harboured disruptive local tribes.’
      • ‘She suddenly wished the ship's library didn't harbor so many annoying memories.’
      • ‘Packinghouse managers must ensure that the fruit they ship isn't harboring live lychee fruit moths or oriental fruit flies; such stowaways could wreak agricultural havoc.’
      shelter, conceal, hide, shield, protect, give asylum to, give sanctuary to, give shelter to, provide a refuge for
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    2. 2.2 Carry the germs of (a disease)
      ‘patients who may have been harbouring tuberculosis’
      • ‘Properly dispose of the plant material to avoid harboring diseases over winter.’
      • ‘Long before the germ theory of disease, experience taught that illness could be contagious, and that textiles and sealed containers could harbour disease.’
      • ‘The individuals quarantined may in each case be perfectly healthy, but the suspicion that they are harbouring disease provokes the application of quarantine procedures.’
      • ‘Single radiolabelled colonies harbouring plasmids with inserts bigger than 1000 bp were analysed further.’
      • ‘Solitary nodules are more common than multinodular goitres clinically, and solitary nodules used to be considered more likely to harbour malignant disease.’
      • ‘‘Their herds can harbour the disease throughout the summer and livestock can then be sold onto other farms before being tested,’ she said.’
      • ‘And some primates harbor deadly diseases, like herpes B, that they can pass on to human primates via bites and scratches.’
      • ‘Briefly, single yeast colonies harboring the TNR sequences were resuspended in water and appropriate dilutions were plated onto nonselective media.’
      • ‘Rats scurry along dark alleys, each filthy pavement and passage harbours disease, household waste is flung from windows and danger lurks on every corner.’
      • ‘Now, they are again insisting that their beef is safe, but that assertion is questionable given that there is currently no reliable way to test live animals to see if they are harbouring the disease.’
      • ‘Children most frequently harbor belminthic infections because of their close contact with soil and poor hygienic practices.’
      • ‘However, during later stages of IPF, cysts and bronchiectasis may develop, allowing these areas to harbor infections in the native lung.’
      • ‘All 50 of the Ura + Leu + colonies analyzed harbored the heteropalindrome band.’
      • ‘Certain plants if grown in the wrong area can almost be counted on to harbor disease.’
      • ‘We have previously reported that AQC of sputum cells can identify individuals harboring lung cancer both in the central airways as well as in the peripheral airways.’
      • ‘Venomous fish should not be confused with poisonous species, such as the infamous puffer fish, which harbor colonies of toxin-producing bacteria.’
      • ‘Pet birds, like parrots, can pose a serious threat to chickens because they can harbor diseases that can be very devastating to a chicken flock’
      • ‘Also, clean up fallen leaves from beneath fruit trees; they may be harboring diseases.’
      • ‘The strongest evidence thus far that Giardia once harbored a mitochondrial symbiont comes from analysis of cpn 60.’
      • ‘Birds carrying West Nile virus have already been found in this country and tests are under way to find out if mosquitoes which could infect humans are harbouring the disease.’
  • 3archaic no object (of a ship or its crew) moor in a harbour.

    ‘he might have harboured in Falmouth’
    • ‘Moments proceeded swiftly through the seas of time; after four passings of the moon a large fleet of ships harbored themselves in the bay.’
    • ‘I first used them in an essay on Pope John XXIII, who believed the Church was like a ship that belonged at sea - not harboured in safe havens.’
    moor, berth, be at anchor, tie up
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Late Old English herebeorg ‘shelter, refuge’, herebeorgian ‘occupy shelter’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch herberge and German Herberge, also to French auberge ‘inn’; see also harbinger.