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berth

[burth] /bɜrθ/
noun
1.
a shelflike sleeping space, as on a ship, airplane, or railroad car.
2.
Nautical.
  1. the space allotted to a vessel at anchor or at a wharf.
  2. the distance maintained between a vessel and the shore, another vessel, or any object.
  3. the position or rank of a ship's officer.
  4. the cabin of a ship's officer.
3.
a job; position.
4.
a place, listing, or role:
She clinched a berth on our tennis team.
verb (used with object)
5.
Nautical.
  1. to allot to (a vessel) a certain space at which to anchor or tie up.
  2. to bring to or install in a berth, anchorage, or moorage:
    The captain had to berth the ship without the aid of tugboats.
6.
to provide with a sleeping space, as on a train.
verb (used without object)
7.
Nautical. to come to a dock, anchorage, or moorage.
Idioms
8.
give a wide berth to, to shun; remain discreetly away from:
Since his riding accident, he has given a wide berth to skittish horses.
Origin
1615-1625
1615-25; probably bear1 + -th1
Related forms
unberth, verb (used with object)
Can be confused
berth, birth.
Synonyms
4. spot, slot, position, post, niche, appointment.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for berth
  • The untenured steer a wide berth lest the vapor touch them.
  • Icebreakers free a drilling vessel from its icebound berth.
  • More vessels queue up outside the harbours waiting for a free berth.
  • Predators typically give skunks a wide berth unless little other food is available.
  • The trick, say experts, is to book a discounted berth and budget carefully for the extras.
  • But he thinks it also dismayed younger scholars, who gave these macroeconomic disputes a wide berth.
  • Accommodations include berth compartments and reclining seats.
  • But she is in a berth usually occupied by aircraft carriers.
  • Implants being developed by two groups fit into a snug berth under the retina of the eye.
  • Historically, human beings have prudently given the place a wide berth.
British Dictionary definitions for berth

berth

/bɜːθ/
noun
1.
a bed or bunk in a vessel or train, usually narrow and fixed to a wall
2.
(nautical) a place assigned to a ship at a mooring
3.
(nautical) sufficient distance from the shore or from other ships or objects for a ship to manoeuvre
4.
give a wide berth to, to keep clear of; avoid
5.
(nautical) accommodation on a ship
6.
(informal) a job, esp as a member of a ship's crew
verb
7.
(transitive) (nautical) to assign a berth to (a vessel)
8.
(nautical) to dock (a vessel)
9.
(transitive) to provide with a sleeping place, as on a vessel or train
10.
(intransitive) (nautical) to pick up a mooring in an anchorage
Word Origin
C17: probably from bear1 + -th1
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 berth
n.

1620s, "convenient sea room" (both for ships and sailors), of uncertain origin, probably from bear (v.) + abstract noun suffix -th (2) as in strength, health, etc. Original sense is preserved in phrase to give (something or someone) wide berth. Meaning "place on a ship to stow chests, room for sailors" is from 1706; extended to non-nautical situations by 1778.

v.

1660s, of ships, from berth (n.). Of persons (intransitive), from 1886. Related: Berthed; berthing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for berth

berth

noun

A job, appointment, situation, etc: Dissatisfied with his prewar truck-driving berth (late 1700s+ Nautical)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with berth
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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10
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