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[pawrt-hohl, pohrt-] /ˈpɔrtˌhoʊl, ˈpoʊrt-/
a round, windowlike opening with a hinged, watertight glass cover in the side of a vessel for admitting air and light.
Compare port4 (def 1).
an opening in a wall, door, etc., as one through which to shoot.
Origin of porthole
1585-95; port4 + hole Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for porthole
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bounding from her berth, while hardly yet awake, she darted to her porthole, which was wide open.

    The Castle Of The Shadows Alice Muriel Williamson
  • A porthole, with the black heavens and the blazing stars, was before her.

  • On every side great liners lay, ablaze with light from every cabin and porthole.

  • He looked around the fixed cabin and out the porthole at the unmoving stars.

    Death Wish Robert Sheckley
  • After he was gone, Stephanie sat up and gazed for a long, long time at the scud of water leaping past the porthole.

  • He lowered a tender gaze on his banjo and I went on looking through the porthole.

    Some Reminiscences Joseph Conrad
  • "Lock your door when you come on deck, and shut your porthole," he told her.

    Captivity M. Leonora Eyles
  • He stood there, looking out the porthole, and forgot I was there.

    The Stoker and the Stars Algirdas Jonas Budrys (AKA John A. Sentry)
  • In short, except for its shape it resembled a ship's porthole rather than a window.

    When the World Shook H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for porthole


a small aperture in the side of a vessel to admit light and air, usually fitted with a watertight glass or metal cover, or both Sometimes shortened to port
an opening in a wall or parapet through which a gun can be fired; embrasure
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 porthole

also port-hole, 1590s, from port (n.2) + hole (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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