Port is a fortified wine, originally from Portugal. As the English craved the claret style wines of France, but were unable to obtain them during periods of war with France, they promoted the wineries of Portugal to create similar wines. Unfortunately the wine did not survive the voyage to England so they started "fortifying" the wine by adding brandy spirits to the wine shortly before fermentation was completed.

In network terminology a port can refer to a physical jack. Particularly, it can refer to the many jacks on a switch or repeater. For example, an "8 port ethernet switch" is a switch with 8 ethernet jacks.

Alternatively, ports are used by the UDP and TCP protocols to multiplex. Each host running IP has 65536 UDP ports and 65536 TCP ports. Data transfers occur between the IP address and port of one host to the IP address and port of another host. Servers will listen on special well-known ports. Clients will allocate ephemeral ports, and send data to the server's well-known ports from there.

As an aside, IP does not have links. IP and UDP are both connectionless protocol. TCP, however, is a connection-oriented protocol and does establish links.

A 'port' can also be a specific version of a software program for a different operating system than it was originally intended. Very common with open source software and free-as-in-speech software.

In the seventeenth century, English merchants began what would later become a substantial trade with Portugal. As they searched for products to export to the British Isles, they sailed up the Douro River valley on the backs of boats known as barcos rabelos. What they found was a sweet nectar that delighted their tongues and captured their imaginations—a rich, fortified wine they called "port," after the city of Oporto at the mouth of the Douro.

The cool Atlantic winds bring much rain to the lower Douro valley, but further inland the Serra de Marão mountains begin to shield the valley from these damp breezes. As a result, the climate in the Upper Douro valley is hot and dry, and it is here that one finds the best vineyards. It is a commonplace in winegrowing that extreme conditions "stress" the vines, thereby coaxing them to produce better grapes, rather than more leaves. The conditions along the Upper Douro are excellent, affording just enough moisture to let the vines produce grapes of surpassing quality. The vineyards themselves are built on the granite hillsides, where farmers have carved out terraces from the softer schist over the course of centuries. The estates, or "quintas," are packed tightly together, making the most out of limited space.

As noted above, ports are fortified wines--this is a reference to the distinctive process used to make them. The grape juice is allowed to partially ferment, but this fermentation is cut short by the addition of either pure alcohol or brandy. The result is a sweet wine (the result of sugar left over from the halted fermentation) with a relatively high alcohol content (from the added spirits), usually in the range of 20%. Unlike other wines, ports are not always marked with a vintage—ports with a labelled year represent grapes from superior harvests and are only declared a few times each decade. Recent quality vintages include 1997 (whose ports are getting rave reviews), 1994, 1992, 1991, and 1985.

Ports can be made of either red or white grapes, though reds are much more common. Dozens of red grape varieties can be use to make ports, but the primary types are:

The most common grapes used to make white port include:

There is a wide variety of ports that are made from red grapes. These fall into two primary categories described by their general color: tawnies and rubies. Tawny ports are often aged in wood for several years before being bottled, and it is this time, spent in close contact with oak, along with carefully orchestrated exposure to the air, that lends tawnies their light-brown color and nutty flavor. Tawnies are often sold at several quality levels :

  • Bottles simply labelled tawny are often a blend of white and ruby ports and are likely to be seriously crappy.
  • Age-designated tawnies are sold as "10-year," "20-year," and so on. This means that the average age of the port in the mix is what's on the label.
  • Colheitas are tawnies whose wine all comes from a single year and which have been barrel aged for a minimum of seven years. The top-of-the-line tawny.

Ruby ports are distinguished by their color. The primary types include:

Back to Rook's Wine Reviews

Port is the opposite of starboard in nautical terminology. The port side of a boat is the left side, and boats should display a red light on the port side. The starboard side of a boat is the right side, and here there should be a green light. That way boats can know, in the dark, on which side another boat will pass, and going in which direction.

Picture it in your mind.

The Custodian informs me that the port side was originally so named because ships loaded cargo from that side when tied up, hence, "the side facing the port." Cool, huh?

If you have trouble remembering which is which, I have a mnemonic which works for me: On one side are all the short words:

  • left
  • port
  • red;
And on the other, the long:
  • right
  • starboard
  • green.
standard computer mother boards contain 6 ports, 4 serial ports and 2 parallel ports. Serial ports can send or receive data on its wires at one direction at a time while Parallel Ports can send and receive data in both direction in its wires simoultaenisly.

Below is the list of ports mapped to its hexadecimal values:

LPT1 378h
LPT2 278h

Port (?), n. [From Oporto, in Portugal, i. e., porto the port, L. portus. See Port harbor.]

A dark red or purple astringent wine made in Portugal. It contains a large percentage of alcohol.


© Webster 1913.

Port, n. [AS. port, L. portus: cf. F. port. See Farm, v., Ford, and 1st, 3d, & 4h Port.]


A place where ships may ride secure from storms; a sheltered inlet, bay, or cove; a harbor; a haven. Used also figuratively.

Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads. Shak.

We are in port if we have Thee. Keble.


In law and commercial usage, a harbor where vessels are admitted to discharge and receive cargoes, from whence they depart and where they finish their voyages.

Free port. See under Free. -- Port bar. Naut, (a) A boom. See Boom, 4, also Bar, 3. (b) A bar, as of sand, at the mouth of, or in, a port. -- Port charges Com., charges, as wharfage, etc., to which a ship or its cargo is subjected in a harbor. -- Port of entry, a harbor where a customhouse is established for the legal entry of merchandise. -- Port toll Law, a payment made for the privilege of bringing goods into port. -- Port warden, the officer in charge of a port; a harbor master.


© Webster 1913.

Port (?), n. [F. porte, L. porta, akin to portus; cf. AS. porte, fr. L. porta. See Port a harbor, and cf. Porte.]


A passageway; an opening or entrance to an inclosed place; a gate; a door; a portal.


Him I accuse The city ports by this hath entered. Shak.

Form their ivory port the cherubim Forth issuing. Milton.

2. Naut.

An opening in the side of a vessel; an embrasure through which cannon may be discharged; a porthole; also, the shutters which close such an opening.

Her ports being within sixteen inches of the water. Sir W. Raleigh.

3. Mach.

A passageway in a machine, through which a fluid, as steam, water, etc., may pass, as from a valve to the interior of the cylinder of a steam engine; an opening in a valve seat, or valve face.

Air port, Bridle port, etc. See under Air, Bridle, etc. -- Port bar Naut., a bar to secure the ports of a ship in a gale. -- Port lid Naut., a lid or hanging for closing the portholes of a vessel. -- Steam port, ∧ Exhaust port Steam Engine, the ports of the cylinder communicating with the valve or valves, for the entrance or exit of the steam, respectively.


© Webster 1913.

Port, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ported; p. pr. & vb. n. Porting.] [F. porter, L. portare to carry. See Port demeanor.]


To carry; to bear; to transport.


They are easily ported by boat into other shires. Fuller.

2. Mil.

To throw, as a musket, diagonally across the body, with the lock in front, the right hand grasping the small of the stock, and the barrel sloping upward and crossing the point of the left shoulder; as, to port arms.

Began to hem him round with ported spears. Milton.

Port arms, a position in the manual of arms, executed as above.


© Webster 1913.

Port, n. [F. port, fr. porter to carry, L. portare, prob. akin to E. fare, v. See Port harbor, and cf. Comport, Export, Sport.]

The manner in which a person bears himself; deportment; carriage; bearing; demeanor; hence, manner or style of living; as, a proud port.


And of his port as meek as is a maid. Chaucer.

The necessities of pomp, grandeur, and a suitable port in the world. South.


© Webster 1913.

Port, n. [Etymology uncertain.] Naut.

The larboard or left side of a ship (looking from the stern toward the bow); as, a vessel heels to port. See Note under Larboard. Also used adjectively.


© Webster 1913.

Port, v. t. Naut.

To turn or put to the left or larboard side of a ship; -- said of the helm, and used chiefly in the imperative, as a command; as, port your helm.


© Webster 1913.

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