- a part of a body of water along the shore deep enough for anchoring a ship and so situated with respect to coastal features, whether natural or artificial, as to provide protection from winds, waves, and currents.
- such a body of water having docks or port facilities.
- any place of shelter or refuge: The old inn was a harbor for tired travelers.
verb (used with object)
- to give shelter to; offer refuge to: They harbored the refugees who streamed across the borders.
- to conceal; hide: to harbor fugitives.
- to keep or hold in the mind; maintain; entertain: to harbor suspicion.
- to house or contain.
- to shelter (a vessel), as in a harbor.
verb (used without object)
- (of a vessel) to take shelter in a harbor.
“lodging for ships,” early 12c., probably from Old English herebeorg “lodgings, quarters,” from here “army, host” (see harry) + beorg “refuge, shelter” (related to beorgan “save, preserve;” see bury); perhaps modeled on Old Norse herbergi “room, lodgings, quarters.” Sense shifted in Middle English to “refuge, lodgings,” then to “place of shelter for ships.”
Old English hereborgian, cognate with Old Norse herbergja, Old High German heribergon, Middle Dutch herbergen; see harbor (n.). Figuratively, of thoughts, etc., from late 14c. Related: Harbored; harboring.