1 [pawrt, pohrt]
a city, town, or other place where ships load or unload.
a place along a coast in which ships may take refuge from storms; harbor.
Also called port of entry. Law. any place where persons and merchandise are allowed to pass, by water or land, into and out of a country and where customs officers are stationed to inspect or appraise imported goods.
a geographical area that forms a harbor: the largest port on the eastern seaboard.
Informal. an airport.

before 900; Middle English, Old English < Latin portus harbor, haven; akin to ford

portless, adjective

2. anchorage. See harbor.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
port1 (pɔːt)
1.  a town or place alongside navigable water with facilities for the loading and unloading of ships
2.  See port of entry
[Old English, from Latin portus harbour, port]

port2 (pɔːt)
1.  Also called (formerly): larboard
 a.  the left side of an aircraft or vessel when facing the nose or bow
 b.  Compare starboard (as modifier): the port bow
2.  to turn or be turned towards the port
[C17: origin uncertain]

port3 (pɔːt)
a sweet fortified dessert wine
[C17: after Oporto, Portugal, from where it came originally]

port4 (pɔːt)
1.  nautical
 a.  an opening in the side of a ship, fitted with a watertight door, for access to the holds
 b.  See porthole
2.  a small opening in a wall, armoured vehicle, etc, for firing through
3.  an aperture, esp one controlled by a valve, by which fluid enters or leaves the cylinder head of an engine, compressor, etc
4.  electronics a logic circuit for the input and ouput of data
5.  chiefly (Scot) a gate or portal in a town or fortress
[Old English, from Latin porta gate]

port5 (pɔːt)
1.  (tr) to carry (a rifle, etc) in a position diagonally across the body with the muzzle near the left shoulder
2.  this position
[C14: from Old French, from porter to carry, from Latin portāre]

port6 (pɔːt)
(tr) computing to change (programs) from one system to another
[C20: probably from port4]

port7 (pɔːt)
(Austral) (esp in Queensland) a suitcase or school case
[C20: shortened from portmanteau]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"harbor," O.E. port "harbor, haven," reinforced by O.Fr. port, both O.E. and O.Fr. from L. portus "port, harbor," originally "entrance, passage," from PIE *prtu- "a going, a passage," from base *per- "to lead, pass over" (cf. Skt. parayati "carries over;" Gk. poros "journey, passage, way," peirein "to
pierce, run through;" L. porta "gate, door," portare "passage," peritus "experienced;" Avestan peretush "passage, ford, bridge;" Armenian hordan "go forward;" Welsh rhyd "ford;" O.C.S. pariti "fly;" O.E. faran "to go, journey," O.N. fjörðr "inlet, estuary"). Meaning "left side of a ship" is attested from 1543, from notion of "the side facing the harbor" (when a ship is docked). It replaced larboard in common usage to avoid confusion with starboard (q.v.); officially so by Admiralty order of 1844 and U.S. Navy Department notice of 1846. Fig. sense "place of refuge" is attested from 1426; phrase any port in a storm first recorded 1749.

"gateway," O.E., from O.Fr. porte "gate, entrance," from L. porta "gate, door," from PIE base *per- (see port (1)). Specific meaning "porthole, opening in the side of a ship" is attested from 1243.

"bearing, mien," c.1369, from O.Fr. port, from porter "to carry," from L. portare (see port (1)).

"sweet dark-red wine," 1691, shortened from Oporto, city in northwest Portugal from which the wine was originally shipped, from O Porto "the port."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
port   (pôrt)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. An opening, as in a cylinder or valve face, for the passage of steam or fluid.

  2. A place where data can pass into or out of a central processing unit, computer, or peripheral. With central processing units, a port is a fixed set of connections for incoming and outgoing data or instructions. With computers and peripherals, a port is generally a socket into which a connector can be plugged.

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