Origin: 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. Hwairban, hwarbon, to walk. Cf. Whirl.
1. 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. (Bancroft) Out upon the wharfs they came, knight and burgher, lord and dame. (Tennyson)
2. [AS. Hwearf] The bank of a river, or the shore of the sea. 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. Wharf rat.