Definition of stevedore in US English:



  • A person employed, or a contractor engaged, at a dock to load and unload cargo from ships.

    • ‘Thus, the energy a stevedore expends in unloading boxes from a ship is recycled to him in the form of the money which he uses to buy bread.’
    • ‘These workers originated, mainly, from the Greek port of Thessaloniki where there was a large Jewish labour force in the port, working as sailors, fishermen and stevedores.’
    • ‘The boys ducked past Mr. Thomas as he roared orders to the stevedores on the dock below.’
    • ‘Like the Ear Inn, this one-time Hell's Kitchen saloon was on the waterfront when it opened in 1868 to serve the local Irish stevedores and visiting seamen from the world over.’
    • ‘The group represents importers, exporters, stevedores and ship owners throughout Australia and overseas using Geraldton port.’
    • ‘Although contractual arrangements are normally between stevedores and ship operators/owners for the supply of stevedoring services, stevedoring demand is best measured in terms of cargo volume than numbers of ships serviced.’
    • ‘Some jobs are inherently dangerous, some very dangerous (for example firemen, stevedores and police officers) and employers cannot reasonably protect their servants from all foreseeable danger.’
    • ‘Ropes were cast off and stevedores moved in with bargepoles to keep the hull clear of the wharf.’
    • ‘The previous day workers blocked vehicles entering and leaving the port and preventing Atlantic Ports Services and Speedline stevedores unloading cargo.’
    • ‘Agents take it upon themselves to assist port operators, stevedores, and everybody involved in the successful operation of ships coming to, sailing from, or berthed at New Zealand ports.’
    • ‘One track over, stevedores load another standard gauge car at the public team tracks.’
    • ‘On the dock, a crew of stevedores maneuvered massive barrels and sacks into the hold through a small port.’
    • ‘They turned off Water Street, moving away from the rough haunts of the seamen and stevedores around Peck's Slip, toward the lights and traffic of Pearl Street.’
    • ‘Gold was vital to a city like New York, where stevedores daily handled huge amounts of cargo at its many docks, wharves and piers.’
    • ‘Railroaders, as did miners, sailors, stevedores, teamsters, and others, earned reputations for on- and off-the-job drinking.’
    • ‘And for the hammerers and welders, riveters and panel beaters, shipwrights and stevedores slaving away daily, they can gaze at those portions of the docks turned into yuppie havens and dream of perhaps, one day, moving up and in.’
    • ‘When workers' villages were close to the labour site, as for example with stevedores near the port of Suva, so the state tried to ensure that only a small percentage of workers were resident in the city.’
    • ‘These amateur officers then gathered a labor force of sturdy Yankee farmers, seamen and stevedores from the Rhode Island seaport and drew others from the poorer classes of the City of Providence.’
    • ‘Mariners and merchants made money managing the trade, carters and stevedores stowed staples on ships, and coopers created barrels to contain flour bound for the sea.’
    • ‘The boy hurried after him, dodging through the crowd of stevedores and sailors swarming the dock.’


Late 18th century: from Spanish estivador, from estivar ‘stow a cargo’, from Latin stipare (see steeve).