Port vs. starboard

Port and starboard are nautical terms with origins in Old English. Their meanings are simple: to an observer standing on a boat and facing the front of the craft, port is the left side of the boat, and starboard is the right. If it helps, just remember that port and left are both four-letter words ending in t.

Both adjectives are often used to make the phrasal adjectives port-side and starboard-side, which are hyphenated. Of course, side doesn’t add anything to the words, which already denote sides.


Once again, the quartermaster turns the wheel hard left to the port side of the ship. [BusinessWeek]

The others joined us. We were seated close by the starboard side of the destroyer. [Shoreline Times]

He is removing covers surrounding the port-side Solar Alpha Rotary Joint to begin applying fresh grease to the ring that allows the power-generating wings rotate and track the sun. [Spaceflight Now]

As our waiter Boyke brought breakfast to us, the beautiful cliffs of Sorrento, Italy, came into view on our starboard side. [The Province]

2 thoughts on “Port vs. starboard”

  1. In larger rowed craft, usually one oar near the stern was larger. It steered the craft; it was the steering board. And since it was larger and used for steering, when a craft pulled up to a dock, the steering board was positioned away from the dock, where things were unloaded. The port side was the side of the craft that tied up to the dock. The starboard (steering board) side was opposite the port and free from being entangled with port business. Nowadays, the steering board is usually called a rudder and is centered at the stern instead of being to the side.

  2. There are just words that is needed to be known by someone perfectly so that they can be able to ensure that their usage on those words are effective and right for them to have a good output in the end.


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