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[burm] /bɜrm/
Also, berme. Fortification. a horizontal surface between the exterior slope of a rampart and the moat.
Also called bench. any level strip of ground at the summit or sides, or along the base, of a slope.
Also called backshore, beach berm. a nearly flat back portion of a beach, formed of material deposited by the action of the waves.
Chiefly Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. the bank of a canal or the shoulder of a road.
Chiefly Alaska. a mound of snow or dirt, as formed when clearing land.
a bank of earth placed against an exterior wall or walls of a house or other building as protection against extremes of temperature.
verb (used with object)
to cover or protect with a berm:
The side walls were bermed to a height of three feet.
Origin of berm
1720-30; < French berme < Dutch berm; akin to brim1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for berm
  • It also stopped every now and then to crouch down on a small berm near an ancient lake.
  • The water pressure against the decrepit berm was palpable.
  • The height of the island and a berm ringing the outer edge would be raised to guard against a rise in sea level.
  • Moonraker is a stark, weathered cathedral of chlorine, all but buried in an earthen berm.
  • The center complex is built within a huge berm that was designed to resemble a giant pot buried in the ground.
  • Dust devils puff around on the berm, and maple sprigs land in the yard with their white bellies up.
  • Soon she finishes her work and begins dragging herself down the berm toward the breaking waves.
  • Note sediment on upstream side of berm and clear water on downstream side.
  • The berm was inadequate both in height and in the materials used to construct it.
  • At construction, the ponds were excavated from grade and a minimal height berm was constructed around the perimeter.
British Dictionary definitions for berm


a narrow path or ledge at the edge of a slope, road, or canal
(NZ) the grass verge of a suburban street, usually kept mown
(fortifications) a narrow path or ledge between a moat and a rampart
(military) a man-made ridge of sand, designed as an obstacle to tanks, which, in crossing it, have to expose their vulnerable underparts
Word Origin
C18: from French berme, from Dutch berm, probably from Old Norse barmrbrim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for berm

"narrow ledge," 1729, from French berme (17c.), from Old Dutch baerm "edge of a dike," probably related to brim (q.v.). In U.S., 19c., also the name for the bank of a canal opposite the tow path.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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berm in Science
  1. A nearly horizontal or landward-sloping portion of a beach formed by the deposition of sediment by storm waves. A beach may have no berm at all, or it may have more than one berm.

  2. A narrow man-made ledge or shelf, as along the top or bottom of a slope.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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