The starboard side of a Viking ship was the side that was steered from. The board that stuck into the water on that side was called the starboard. This was before they figured out what a rudder was, which is much nicer being in the center of the boat and all.

Anyway, since the starboard side had this oar looking thingy hanging off the side, it was no good for pulling up next to the pier. Hence the other side was nearly always against the pier, and was where things such as people, supplies, and looted items from the villages they pillaged were loaded and unloaded. The word lar somehow conveys this meaning of loading. Well since larboard and starboard could be so easily confused, the larboard side was renamed to port, thus still conveying the original meaning.

Lar"board` (?), n. [Lar- is of uncertain origin, possibly the same as lower, i. e., humbler in rank, because the starboard side is considered by mariners as higher in rank; cf. D. laag low, akin to E. low. See Board, n., 8.] Naut.

The left-hand side of a ship to one on board facing toward the bow; port; -- opposed to starboard.

Larboard is a nearly obsolete term, having been superseded by port to avoid liability of confusion with starboard, owing to similarity of sound.


© Webster 1913.

Lar"board`, a.

On or pertaining to the left-hand side of a vessel; port; as, the larboard quarter.


© Webster 1913.

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