Wharf (?), n.; pl. Wharfs (#) or 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. hwaírban, hwarbon, to walk. Cf. Whirl.]
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.
⇒ The plural of 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
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. Zool. (a) The common brown rat. (b) A neglected boy who lives around the wharfs. [Slang]
© Webster 1913.
Wharf (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Wharfed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Wharfing.]
To guard or secure by a firm wall of timber or stone constructed like a wharf; to furnish with a wharf or wharfs.
To place upon a wharf; to bring to a wharf.
© Webster 1913.