O.E. steorbord, lit. "side on which a vessel was steered," from steor- "rudder, steering paddle" + bord "ship's side." Cf. O.N. stjornborði, Low Ger. stürbord, Ger. Steuerbord. Early Germanic peoples' boats were propelled and steered by a paddle on the right side. Fr. tribord (O.Fr. estribord), It. stribordo are Gmc. loan-words.