Etymology
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harbor (v.)

Old English herebeorgian "take up quarters, lodge, shelter oneself" (cognate with Old Norse herbergja, Old High German heribergon, Middle Dutch herbergen), verbal formation from here-beorg "lodgings, quarters" (see harbor (n.)). Meaning "give shelter to, protect" is from mid-14c. Figuratively, of thoughts, etc., from late 14c. Related: Harbored; harboring.

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harbor (n.)

"lodging for ships; sheltered recess in a coastline," early 12c., a specialized sense of Middle English herberwe "temporary dwelling place, quarters, lodgings; an inn; the camp of an army in the field," probably from Old English here-beorg (West Saxon), *here-berg (Anglian) "lodgings, quarters," from Proto-Germanic compound *harja-bergaz "shelter, lodgings," from *heri "army, host" (see harry (v.)) + *burzjan- "protection, shelter" (from PIE root *bhergh- (1) "to hide, protect"). Perhaps modeled on Old Norse herbergi "room, lodgings, quarters."

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harbour 

chiefly British English spelling of harbor (n. and v.); for spelling, see -or. In this case it is considered to be without etymological justification and probably by analogy of labour.

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*bhergh- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to hide, protect." It forms all or part of: bargain; borrow; burial; bury; harbor; hauberk; scabbard.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Old English Old English borgian "to lend, be surety for;" Old Church Slavonic brěgo "I preserve, guard," Lithuanian bìrginti "be parsimonious." But, absent other possible cognates, Boutkan writes that it is not certainly Indo-European and "probably a substratum word."

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harbinger (n.)

late 15c., herbengar "one sent ahead to arrange lodgings" (for a monarch, an army, etc.), alteration of Middle English herberger "provider of shelter, innkeeper" (late 12c.), from Old French herbergeor "one who offers lodging, innkeeper," agent noun from herbergier "provide lodging," from herber "lodging, shelter," from Frankish *heriberga "lodging, inn" (cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German heriberga "army shelter"), from Germanic compound *harja-bergaz "shelter, lodgings," which is also the source of harbor (n.). Sense of "forerunner, that which precedes and gives notice of the coming of another" is mid-16c. The unetymological -n- is from 15c. (see messenger). As a verb, from 1640s (harbinge "to lodge" is late 15c.).

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arbor (n.1)

c. 1300, herber, "herb garden, pleasure garden," from Old French erbier "field, meadow; kitchen garden," from Latin herba "grass, herb" (see herb). Later "a grassy plot" (mid-14c., a sense also in Old French), "shaded nook, bower formed by intertwining of trees, shrubs, or vines" (mid-14c.). It is probably not from Latin arbor "tree" (see arbor (n.2)), though perhaps that word has influenced its spelling:

[O]riginally signifying a place for the cultivation of herbs, a pleasure-ground, garden, subsequently applied to the bower or rustic shelter which commonly occupied the most conspicuous situation in the garden ; and thus the etymological reference to herbs being no longer apparent, the spelling was probably accommodated to the notion of being sheltered by trees or shrubs (arbor). [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859]

But the change from er- to ar- before consonants in Middle English also reflects a pronunciation shift: compare farm from ferme, harbor from Old English herebeorg.

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seaport (n.)

"a harbor on the sea; a city or town on such a harbor," 1590s, from sea + port (n.1).

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dockyard (n.)

"place for naval stores, timber, etc., near a harbor," 1704, from dock (n.1) + yard (n.1).

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breakwater (n.)

"any structure serving to break the force of waves and protect a harbor or shore," 1721; see break (v.) + water (n.1).

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Tangier 

port city of Morocco, Latin Tinge, said to be named for Tingis, daughter of Atlas, but probably from Semitic tigisis "harbor." In English often Tangiers, by influence of Algiers.

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