Meaning of harbour in English:


Pronunciation /?hɑ?b?/

See synonyms for harbour


(US harbor)
  • 1A place on the coast where ships may moor in shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.

    ‘they enjoyed fishing in the harbour’
    • ‘a curved breakwater was built of large stones to construct a small harbour’
    • ‘the westerly wind kept us in harbour until the following afternoon’
    • ‘Big conger inhabit a number of environments, including deep water rock marks, harbours, jetties, piers, breakwaters and the odd sandy beach!’
    • ‘She swallowed and rushed in. ‘I'm here to ask about the berths available on the ships in harbour.’’
    • ‘During the storms of winter ships in the harbour were drydocked for repairs and refitting.’
    • ‘The only light came from the two cruise ships moored in the harbour.’
    • ‘They will then sail down the harbour while ships alongside pay their respect.’
    • ‘Ports that usually average 30 to 35 ships in harbor, now have 60 to 65.’
    • ‘But instead of issuing forth to finish off the demoralized Japanese squadron the Russian ships remained safely in harbour.’
    • ‘The Royal Navy assumed that Raeder, the head of the German Navy, would not tolerate three ships remaining in harbour and not doing anything.’
    • ‘Many of the structures (jetties, harbours, sea walls, breakwaters) built by society disrupt the natural coastal processes and consequently result in erosion and deposition.’
    • ‘The yard and slipway led to the harbour where the ships were serviced.’
    • ‘At times there could be 100 ocean-going ships in harbour - goods were on sale in her warehouses from around the world.’
    • ‘Its members have been checking underwater structures and helping the Coast Guard patrol the harbor whenever a cruise liner berths.’
    • ‘The ship docked in the harbour here on Monday night and the captain was given the option to pay the fine or appear in court.’
    • ‘The harbor is protected by a long jetty running more or less north and south, and you have to enter at the southern end.’
    • ‘It is mostly the fishermen that make use of the harbour with big ships docking occasionally.’
    • ‘The funny thing was that the Japanese irezumi artists now got new clients - the sailors from the foreign ships anchoring in Japanese harbors.’
    • ‘That night, while Laurel was brushing her teeth, I stared out our window at the cruise ships docked in the harbor.’
    • ‘During the sailing season large numbers of yachts berth at the harbour, hampering the movement of container ships and larger fishing vessels.’
    • ‘Each one has a responsibility for protecting our coasts, borders and harbors.’
    • ‘Galveston Bay and other bay systems along the middle and upper coast have deep water (ship channels, harbors, deep natural cuts) into which fish can flee during cold weather.’
    port, dock, haven, marina, dockyard, boatyard, mooring, anchorage, roads, waterfront
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A place of refuge.
      ‘a safe harbour for children in distress’
      • ‘Fixed rates have long offered a safe harbour to homeowners who want the security of knowing what their monthly mortgage repayments will be for an extended period.’
      • ‘The best hope was that it would offer other safe harbors and define proportionality more flexibly.’
      • ‘The only women they have contact with are non-inmates, and thus these women are in positions of power: they are free to come and go, they have favors to dispense and they can offer safe harbors.’
      • ‘Here the nature of an inn, historically, has been as a safe harbour and secure refuge from the perils of the highway.’
      • ‘Obviously, if you offer a safe harbor, some agents just won't bother to learn new skills.’
      • ‘Self-regulation can work if there is both a default rule urging for its fine tuning (via contract), and a common sharing of values upon which to build the needed exceptions and safe harbours.’
      • ‘As interest rates continue their rise in the US and the eurozone, and quite likely in Japan in the near future, it may be that some of that investment money might be returning home to safer harbours.’
      • ‘To dispatch the wrong past, and recover the right one, was part and parcel of the country's overdue arrival in the safe harbour of a modern democracy.’
      • ‘Here is a plan that will provide a safe harbour for bikes, create a couple of part-time jobs and make money for the council to invest in cycling facilities.’
      • ‘Are we less than the men who left safe harbors and shouldered through cold oceans?’
      • ‘Time and again, the legislation has sailed through congressional votes only to encounter choppy seas as it neared the safe harbor of enactment.’
      • ‘The ideology also affords a safe harbor of rationalization.’
      • ‘But now you no longer need a safe harbor from U.S. monetary tightening, so Malaysia shouldn't be selling at a premium.’
      • ‘The girls were suddenly forced to find their safe harbor in me.’
      • ‘The Deadheads gave the Grateful Dead a steady revenue stream and a safe harbor.’
      • ‘Unable to fly anywhere, they felt trapped, and looked towards Canada as their safe harbor.’
      • ‘And away from the glamour and the excitement of the stage, there is often the hidden loneliness, the restless mind that seldom knows the calm of a safe harbour.’
      • ‘In a positive effort to stop the cycle of incarceration among children of prisoners, the camp experience has become a safe harbor.’
      • ‘On one level the little arms around you and the fact that he regards you as a safe harbor in a pinch is a great, uplifting feeling.’
      • ‘When in doubt, speakers eagerly returned to the safe harbor of Kerry's war record.’
      refuge, haven, safe haven, shelter, sanctuary, retreat, asylum, place of safety, place of security, port in a storm, oasis, sanctum
      View synonyms


(US harbor)
[with object]
  • 1Keep (a thought or feeling, typically a negative one) in one's mind, especially secretly.

    ‘she started to harbour doubts about the wisdom of their journey’
    • ‘I just need to call him up and explain that Nate and I are just best friends, and that the idea that I was secretly harboring feelings for Nate is ridiculous.’
    • ‘If I am to be completely honest with myself… I have secretly harboured feelings for him since our wee junior years, though not another breathing soul would ever find out.’
    • ‘She knew her sister had secretly harbored feelings for her best friend and when she had realized it she also realized they looked great together.’
    • ‘Both he and I are secretly harboring feelings for each other but are too stubborn to admit it.’
    • ‘Gabriel, unlike all the other characters, isn't harboring any negative feelings.’
    • ‘During the course of the evening the pair discovered they had both been secretly harbouring strong feelings for each other.’
    • ‘A fifth of men said their partners had secretly harboured strong feelings for another man, and 13% believed they had had illicit sex with someone else during their relationship.’
    • ‘He accepts they will have their work cut out but refuses to harbour any negative thoughts.’
    • ‘It's now no secret that these two are secretly harbouring feelings for each other, but I'm doing my best to ruin things between them (primarily to get even with Robb).’
    • ‘For what group does not secretly harbor the desire to shield its truths, which it hopes are expressions of Truth itself, from a probing critique?’
    • ‘‘There's no hope for him this time,’ Sandy insisted, though he was secretly harbouring a few hopes, which he badly wanted Sheila to nourish with some arguments of her own.’
    • ‘Although the world title had brought him wealth and prestige in his home country, he secretly harboured grave doubts about the Communist system that he represented.’
    • ‘The prosecution proposed that Mr Gassy had harboured feelings of resentment and anger towards Dr Tobin for her part in his deregistration.’
    • ‘‘I've always harboured a secret desire to confront him, though I know it would never have been allowed,’ said Mr Mellor.’
    • ‘Besides, it's not healthy to harbour secret feelings for a guy.’
    • ‘I know how it is harboring secret feelings for somebody when you don't think the time is right.’
    • ‘Many of us secretly harbor a suspicion that somebody somewhere really is finding both fun and fulfillment while being sexually promiscuous.’
    • ‘After that, he quickly eradicated any romantic intentions he had harbored for Captain Crowell, as she was now his commander and employer.’
    • ‘There is no loathing that any man harbours more intense than that towards his benefactors.’
    • ‘Like most girls, she harbours considerable maternal instincts.’
    bear, nurse, nurture, cherish, entertain, foster, feel secretly, hold on to, cling to, possess, maintain, retain
    View synonyms
  • 2Shelter or hide (a criminal or wanted person)

    ‘he was suspected of harbouring an escaped prisoner’
    • ‘It seems we would rather harbour war criminals than shelter innocent human beings from inhumane regimes.’
    • ‘You are under arrest for aiding the escape and harboring this vile prisoner!’
    • ‘Rather, the police should take swift and decisive action against such offenses as harboring criminals, dealing drugs and swindling people.’
    • ‘On January 23 the center was raided by a special SWAT-type police squad at 5 a.m. on the false claim that the center was harboring a rapist, drug dealers and felons.’
    • ‘The people who were with him are totally innocent but if they don't come forward then they are harbouring a criminal and part of this crime.’
    • ‘Unlike now when households harbour criminals and share the loot, police will always find it difficult to nail the thieves.’
    • ‘The solution to the crime and killings is very simple: move on the so-called ‘community leaders’ who, under the disguise of religion, are harbouring criminals to do their dirty works.’
    • ‘He unveiled a raft of proposals to tighten immigration controls - including hugely increasing the maximum jail term for people harbouring illegal immigrants from six months to 14 years.’
    • ‘She was given an 18-month conditional discharge for harbouring a known criminal by a judge who described her actions as ‘a crime of passion’.’
    • ‘Packinghouse managers must ensure that the fruit they ship isn't harboring live lychee fruit moths or oriental fruit flies; such stowaways could wreak agricultural havoc.’
    • ‘She suddenly wished the ship's library didn't harbor so many annoying memories.’
    • ‘the solid prosperity of Britannia was never securely extended north of the Humber, where the Cumbrian mountains and Pennine chain harboured disruptive local tribes.’
    • ‘Moreover, the logic of specialisation in the knowledge necessary to participate meaningfully in such speculative poetics harbours within it a repressed identity.’
    • ‘While some ‘book environmentalists’ may think it ideal to view country lanes/roads in this manner, in reality bad management harbours more than the odd rat and black bin bag.’
    • ‘Proponents argue that genetic engineering harbours enormous potential benefits to farming and the food supply around the world.’
    • ‘According to the report ‘the system harbours larger and heavier particles that are made of iron, rather than carbon.’’
    • ‘But while the novel undoubtedly harbours darker elements, its most successful mode is deadpan humour.’
    • ‘Any Haitian or Bahamian who harbours, employs, abets, or succors illegals, gets a fine and jail.’
    • ‘This 16 th-century coaching inn, in the characterful market town of Pickering, once harboured smugglers moving salt from Whitby to York.’
    • ‘The minority institutions have been accused of harbouring anti-national elements and fostering anti-national culture without a shred of evidence.’
    shelter, conceal, hide, shield, protect, give asylum to, give sanctuary to, give shelter to, provide a refuge for
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Give a home or shelter to (an organism)
      ‘the water can become stagnant, harbouring bacteria and other microorganisms’
      • ‘some of these planets may harbour life’
      • ‘woodlands that once harboured a colony of red deer’
      • ‘Spirit will spend the next three months searching for evidence of past water in the soil and rocks, which if found may heighten the likelihood that Mars once harboured life.’
      • ‘The new images showed further details of what scientists believe is the rocky bed of an ancient lake that may have once harboured life.’
      • ‘In fact, Mars once might have harbored a planet-wide ocean.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, archaeologists had washed the other pots, which might have once harbored the marker molecules.’
      • ‘Colin Howes, Keeper of Environmental Records at Doncaster Museum, says there are many problems with the legend, not least of which is the location of the woodland which harboured the wild cat.’
      • ‘In it, they offered a string of circumstantial evidence for Mars having once harbored life.’
      • ‘Instead, I wish good luck to the club that once harboured my second favourite player outside George Best, England's greatest marksman, Jimmy Greaves.’
      • ‘The girl who once called herself Jill Blando always harboured a sense of puzzlement that people found her clever, talented and beautiful.’
      • ‘But I guess reliving a total sophomore-year-of-high school moment harbors a shred of entertainment at age 24.’
      • ‘This rationale can be used to identify genomic regions or genes harboring mutations that maintain reproductive barriers between diverging populations.’
      • ‘The lure of the three frigid Galilean moons is that beneath their thick crust of ice may lie vast reservoirs of liquid water that harbor, or once harbored, life.’
      • ‘Both sites show evidence they once contained liquid water and might therefore harbor fossils of primitive life.’
      • ‘The marina harbours ships and yachts of the high and mighty as well as modest ones for the common man.’
      • ‘I learned that ships harbor a host of great places for babies to crawl and play.’
      • ‘These could harbor previously unknown species of marine life.’
      • ‘Besides providing a depository for the neighbouring heavy metals refinery, Bleak Pond forms a natural sump for the surrounding agricultural land, so harbours little aquatic life.’
      • ‘The play opens at the Hardcastle home - and the lazy, rural state of affairs it harbours - where Kate is soon to meet her unknown intended, Marlowe.’
      • ‘The Rann of Kutch harbours unique, and now-endangered, native flora and fauna besides considerable agro-biodiversity.’
      • ‘These bacteria form a living mat of intertwined filaments at the surface of the stromatolite, which also harbours numerous other types of micro-organisms.’
      • ‘Just offshore from the Stromsholmen centre lies the island of Kvitholmen, which harbours yet more facilities for divers who want a little more seclusion.’
    2. 2.2Carry the germs of (a disease)
      ‘patients who may have been harbouring tuberculosis’
      • ‘Solitary nodules are more common than multinodular goitres clinically, and solitary nodules used to be considered more likely to harbour malignant disease.’
      • ‘Birds carrying West Nile virus have already been found in this country and tests are under way to find out if mosquitoes which could infect humans are harbouring the disease.’
      • ‘The individuals quarantined may in each case be perfectly healthy, but the suspicion that they are harbouring disease provokes the application of quarantine procedures.’
      • ‘Rats scurry along dark alleys, each filthy pavement and passage harbours disease, household waste is flung from windows and danger lurks on every corner.’
      • ‘Now, they are again insisting that their beef is safe, but that assertion is questionable given that there is currently no reliable way to test live animals to see if they are harbouring the disease.’
      • ‘‘Their herds can harbour the disease throughout the summer and livestock can then be sold onto other farms before being tested,’ she said.’
      • ‘Long before the germ theory of disease, experience taught that illness could be contagious, and that textiles and sealed containers could harbour disease.’
      • ‘We have previously reported that AQC of sputum cells can identify individuals harboring lung cancer both in the central airways as well as in the peripheral airways.’
      • ‘Also, clean up fallen leaves from beneath fruit trees; they may be harboring diseases.’
      • ‘Properly dispose of the plant material to avoid harboring diseases over winter.’
      • ‘Pet birds, like parrots, can pose a serious threat to chickens because they can harbor diseases that can be very devastating to a chicken flock’
      • ‘And some primates harbor deadly diseases, like herpes B, that they can pass on to human primates via bites and scratches.’
      • ‘Certain plants if grown in the wrong area can almost be counted on to harbor disease.’
      • ‘However, during later stages of IPF, cysts and bronchiectasis may develop, allowing these areas to harbor infections in the native lung.’
      • ‘Children most frequently harbor belminthic infections because of their close contact with soil and poor hygienic practices.’
      • ‘The strongest evidence thus far that Giardia once harbored a mitochondrial symbiont comes from analysis of cpn 60.’
      • ‘Single radiolabelled colonies harbouring plasmids with inserts bigger than 1000 bp were analysed further.’
      • ‘All 50 of the Ura + Leu + colonies analyzed harbored the heteropalindrome band.’
      • ‘Venomous fish should not be confused with poisonous species, such as the infamous puffer fish, which harbor colonies of toxin-producing bacteria.’
      • ‘Briefly, single yeast colonies harboring the TNR sequences were resuspended in water and appropriate dilutions were plated onto nonselective media.’
  • 3 archaic no object (of a ship or its crew) moor in a harbour.

    ‘he might have harboured in Falmouth’
    • ‘I first used them in an essay on Pope John XXIII, who believed the Church was like a ship that belonged at sea - not harboured in safe havens.’
    • ‘Moments proceeded swiftly through the seas of time; after four passings of the moon a large fleet of ships harbored themselves in the bay.’
    moor, berth, harbour, be at anchor, tie up
    View synonyms


Late Old English herebeorg ‘shelter, refuge’, herebeorgian ‘occupy shelter’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch herberge and German Herberge, also to French auberge ‘inn’; see also harbinger.