Harbor vs Harbour

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What’s the difference between them?



A harbor is a sheltered area of water where ships and boats can anchor.


1. The small harbor was filled with boats.

2. We took a sightseeing tour of the harbor.

3. The peaceful harbor was a refuge for the tired travelers.



British English spelling of 'harbor.'


1. The small harbour was filled with brightly coloured boats.

2. The Port of Miami is one of the largest harbours in the United States.

3. After a long day at sea, the ship arrived safely in the harbour.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. Dock

2. Anchorage

3. Refuge

4. Haven

5. Sanctum Sanctorum

There are no direct antonyms for this word.


1. Port

2. Shelter

3. Harbor

4. Refuge

5. Safe Haven

There are no direct antonyms for this word.

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Harbor", "Harbour".

1. Remember that 'Harbor' is the American English spelling and 'Harbour' is the British English spelling.

2. If you get confused about which spelling to use for a particular context, use a dictionary to confirm the correct spelling.

Practice English with the Promova app and avoid misusing confusing words

Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word, 'harbor,' be used?

Harbor is most commonly used in American English to refer to a sheltered area of water where boats and ships can moor. It can also be used more generally to refer to a place of safety or refuge.

When is the appropriate context for using the second word, 'harbour'?

Harbour is a variant spelling of harbor and is used in British English, as well as in some parts of CanadIt has the same meaning as harbor and can be used in the same contexts.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

Yes, the two words both have the same pronunciation, regardless of which spelling is used. The two words are pronounced /ˈhɑːrbər/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One of the most common mistakes people make when using these words is spelling them incorrectly. Although the two words are spelled differently, they have the same pronunciation. Additionally, some people mistakenly use the words interchangeably, when in fact they are used differently in American English and British English.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. After touring the East Coast, they decided to dock their ship in the _______ of New York.

2. The picturesque _______ of Portsmouth is a must-visit for anyone traveling to the UK.

3. The small fishing boat sought refuge in the nearest _______ during the storm.

4. In the detective novel, the suspect was believed to _______ a deep-seated resentment against his employer.

5. The Sydney Opera House overlooks the beautiful _______ of Sydney.

6. While in Boston, its a tradition to have tea at one of the cafes near the _______.

1. Answer: harbor

Explanation: The clue New York indicates an American location. Therefore, the American spelling harbor is used.

2. Answer: harbour

Explanation: Portsmouth is in the UK, so the British spelling harbour is the correct choice.

3. Answer: harbour/harbor

Explanation: Theres no specific geographical clue in the sentence. Both British and American spellings are accepted.

4. Answer: harbor

Explanation: In this context, the word refers to holding a feeling or emotion, a meaning which both harbor and harbour can convey. Without a regional clue, either spelling is accepted.

5. Answer: harbour

Explanation: The Sydney Opera House is in Australia, where British English is the predominant form, making harbour the correct spelling.

6. Answer: harbor

Explanation: Boston is a clue that points to an American location, so the American spelling harbor is appropriate.

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