- 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.
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.
“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.”