port (n.1)

"harbor," Old English port "harbor, haven," reinforced by Old French port "harbor, port; mountain pass;" Old English and Old French words both from Latin portus "port, harbor," originally "entrance, passage," figuratively "place of refuge, asylum," from PIE *prtu- "a going, a passage," suffixed form of root *per-(2) "to lead, pass over."

Meaning "left side of a ship" (looking forward from the stern) is attested from 1540s, from notion of "the side facing the harbor" (when a ship is docked). It replaced larboard in common usage to avoid confusion with starboard; officially so by Admiralty order of 1844 and U.S. Navy Department notice of 1846. Figurative sense "place of refuge" is attested from early 15c.; phrase any port in a storm first recorded 1749. A port of call (1810) is one paid a scheduled visit by a ship.

port (n.2)

"gateway," Old English port "portal, door, gate, entrance," from Old French porte "gate, entrance," from Latin porta "city gate, gate; door, entrance," from PIE root *per-(2) "to lead, pass over." Specific meaning "porthole, opening in the side of a ship" is attested from c. 1300.

port (n.3)

"bearing, mien," c. 1300, from Old French port, from porter "to carry," from Latin portare "to carry," from PIE root *per-(2) "to lead, pass over."

port (n.4)

type of sweet dark-red wine, 1690s, shortened from Oporto, city in northwest Portugal from which the wine originally was shipped to England; from O Porto "the port" (see port (n.1)).

port (v.)

"to carry," from Middle French porter, from Latin portare "to carry," from PIE *prto-, suffixed form of PIE root *per-(2) "to lead, pass over." Related: Ported; porting.

Share