from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The right-hand side of a ship or aircraft as one faces forward.
  • adjective On the right-hand side as one faces forward.
  • adverb To or toward the right-hand side as one faces forward.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical that side of a vessel which is on the right when one faces the bow: opposed to port (larboard). See port.
  • Nautical, pertaining to the right-hand side, or being or lying on the right side, of a vessel.
  • To turn or put to the right or starboard side of a vessel: as, to starboard the helm (when it is desired to have the vessel's head go to port).
  • Toward the right-hand or starboard side.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) That side of a vessel which is on the right hand of a person who stands on board facing the bow; -- opposed to larboard, or port.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To put to the right, or starboard, side of a vessel.
  • adjective (Naut.) Pertaining to the right-hand side of a ship; being or lying on the right side

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The right hand side of a ship, boat or aircraft when facing the front, or fore or bow. Starboard does not change based on the orientation of the person aboard the craft.
  • noun nautical One of the two traditional watches aboard a ship standing a watch in two.
  • verb nautical, transitive To put to the right, or starboard, side of a vessel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective located on the right side of a ship or aircraft
  • verb turn to the right, of helms or rudders
  • noun the right side of a ship or aircraft to someone who is aboard and facing the bow or nose


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English sterbord, from Old English stēorbord : stēor-, a steering; see stā- in Indo-European roots + bord, side of a ship.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English sterbord, from Old English stēor (“steer”) +‎ bord (“side (of a ship)”). Ships had to dock on their left (port) side because the steering oar on the right would get in the way, which is how the left became known as the port side.


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  • Through the stupidity of the look-outs the next thing we knew was that she was off on the starboard quarter, and to windward of us, she having been on the _starboard_ tack all the while!

    The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter Raphael Semmes 1843

  • I should explain that the space under the topgallant forecastle was divided by a bulkhead running fore and aft into parts forming separate cabins, one called the starboard, and the other the larboard berths, with bunks built up on both sides, one above another, or rather, in two stories, to explain myself better.

    Dick Cheveley His Adventures and Misadventures William Henry Giles Kingston 1847

  • Tracker pointed, off what I guess you would call our starboard bow.

    The White Rose Cook, Glen 1985

  • When the engines started up, the gorgeous picture swung around until it stood on what is technically called the starboard beam, whereupon one of the engineers called my attention to the fact that we had changed our course.

    A Woman's Impression of the Philippines Mary Helen Fee

  • On the starboard were a number of guest rooms arranged in suites of parlour, bedroom, and bath, while at the crown of the arch was a large dining-room in which fifty persons could sit down to dinner comfortably.

    L.P.M. : the end of the Great War

  • "Very well, I will," said the other; and, calling the starboard watch, who were idling about and having a quiet caulk in the waist, he soon made them set about reducing the _Josephine's_ canvas -- there being no necessity yet for summoning "all hands," as there was not a breath of air stirring, while the sea had hushed its monotonous roll, calming down to the quiet of a mill-pond.

    The White Squall A Story of the Sargasso Sea J. [Illustrator] Schonberg

  • Off to the starboard was a white area of ice plain, from whose even surface rose mammoth forts, castles and pyramids of solid ice almost as real as though they had been placed there by the hand of man.

    Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters 1912

  • The long oarlike rudder was on the board or side of the ship to the right of the stern, called the starboard or steerboard.

    Days of the Discoverers L. Lamprey 1910

  • Each watch falls in for inspection on its respective side of the deck -- that is, the starboard watch on the right side, the port watch on the left.

    From Lower Deck to Pulpit Henry Cowling 1909

  • It was not so clear a morning as the previous one, and a steamy wind on what at sea I should have called the starboard bow, as I pressed forward to the distant hill, had a curiously subduing effect on my thoughts, and filled the forest glades with a tremulous unreality like to nothing on our earth, and distinctly embarrassing to a stranger in a strange land.

    Gulliver of Mars 1905


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