Where does the word “Starboard” come from and What does Starboard mean?

The word “Starboard” has no reference to stars at all, but probably few sailors, even, know why this designates the right side of a vessel.

Its origin takes us back to the early ships of the Norse and other Teutonic people.

Though, with favoring winds, those vessels were driven by sails, they were steered, not by rudders from the rear, but by a paddle (bord, “board, paddle”) over the right side.

It was the “steering paddle, or board.”

In Old English, steorbord; whence, “starboard.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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