berth /bəːθ/


I. noun

1. a ship’s allotted place at a wharf or dock.

the vessel had left its berth.
2. a fixed bunk on a ship, train, or other means of transport.

I’ll sleep in the upper berth.
[in combination]
a four-berth caravan.
‹informal› (often in a sporting context) a position in an organization or event

he looked at home in an unfamiliar right-back berth.
II. verb [with obj.]

1. moor (a ship) in its allotted place.

they planned to berth HMS Impregnable at Portsmouth.
2. [no obj.] (of a ship) dock.

the ship berthed at Plymouth.
3. (of a passenger ship) provide a sleeping place for (someone).
III. phrases

give someone/thing a wide berth
a. steer a ship well clear of something while passing it.

ships are advised to give the islands a wide berth.
b. stay away from someone or something.

I’d sworn to give women a wide berth.
– origin early 17th cent. (in the sense ‘adequate sea room’): probably from a nautical use of bear1 + -th2.

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