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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Wharf \Wharf\, n.; pl. Wharfsor Wharves. [AS. hwerf, hwearf, a returning, a change, from hweorfan to turn, turn about, go about; akin to D. werf a wharf, G. werft, Sw. varf a shipbuilder's yard, Dan. verft wharf, dockyard, G. werben to enlist, to engage, woo, OHG. werban to turn about, go about, be active or occupied, Icel. hverfa to turn, Goth. hwa['i]rban, hwarb[=o]n, to walk. Cf. Whirl.]

  1. A structure or platform of timber, masonry, iron, earth, or other material, built on the shore of a harbor, river, canal, or the like, and usually extending from the shore to deep water, so that vessels may lie close alongside to receive and discharge cargo, passengers, etc.; a quay; a pier.

    Commerce pushes its wharves into the sea.

    Out upon the wharfs they came, Knight and burgher, lord and dame.

    Note: The this word is generally written wharves in the United States, and wharfs in England; but many recent English writers use wharves.

  2. [AS. hwearf.] The bank of a river, or the shore of the sea. [Obs.] ``The fat weed that roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf.'' --Shak. Wharf boat, a kind of boat moored at the bank of a river, and used for a wharf, in places where the height of the water is so variable that a fixed wharf would be useless. [U. S.] --Bartlett. Wharf rat. (Zo["o]l.)

    1. The common brown rat.

    2. A neglected boy who lives around the wharfs. [Slang]


alt. (plural of wharf English) n. (plural of wharf English)

Usage examples of "wharfs".

Saw Mill, past the wharfs and the factories, the cranes, the houses, the walls and beaches, the fettered ships at their moorings, the heavy, loaded barges, the docks and warehouses and rubbish dumps and old forgotten workings, past the low banks and the little hills, to the wide, gull-haunted reaches, and the great sands, and the sea.

Unlike the buildings in the town square, the doors to the three warehouses that stand behind the river wharfs are all open, and lancers are carting out some provisions-and blades.