from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A slightly arched surface, as of a road, a ship's deck, an airfoil, or a snow ski.
  • n. The condition of having an arched surface.
  • n. A setting of automobile wheels in which they are closer together at the bottom than at the top.
  • transitive v. To arch or cause to arch slightly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A slight convexity, arching or curvature of a surface of a road, a beam, roof deck, ship's deck etc., so that liquids will flow off the sides.
  • n. The slope of a curved road created to minimize the effect of centrifugal force.
  • n. A vertical alignment of the wheels of a road vehicle with positive camber signifying that the wheels are closer together at the bottom than at the top.
  • n. The curvature of an airfoil.
  • n. A small enclosed dock in which timber for masts (etc.) is kept to weather.
  • v. To curve upwards in the middle.
  • v. To adjust the camber of the wheels of a vehicle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An upward convexity of a deck or other surface.
  • n. An upward concavity in the under side of a beam, girder, or lintel; also, a slight upward concavity in a straight arch. See Hogback.
  • intransitive v. To curve upward.
  • transitive v. To cut bend to an upward curve; to construct, as a deck, with an upward curve.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To arch; bend; curve, as ship-planks.
  • n. A harbor.
  • n. A convexity upon an upper surface, as of a deck amidships, a bridge, a beam, or a lintel.
  • n. The curve of a ship's plank.
  • n. A small dock or part of a dock, protected by a breakwater, where boats and small craft may lie quietly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. curve upward in the middle
  • n. the alignment of the wheels of a motor vehicle closer together at the bottom than at the top
  • n. a slight convexity (as of the surface of a road)
  • n. a slope in the turn of a road or track; the outside is higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force


From Middle English caumber, curved, from Old North French dialectal caumbre, from Latin camur, perhaps from Greek kamara, vault.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French cambre ("bent"), from Latin camurum, from camur ("arched"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Thank you, hernesheir. I am pleased to evoke memories of that excellent film.

    September 13, 2014

  • Great one, qms. Evokes a scene in the 1937 film Captains Courageous, which I recently watched again.

    September 13, 2014

  • A sailor's first lesson at sea
    He learns on his elbow and knee
    While crawling to clamber
    The deck's gentle camber
    On orders to puke to the lee.

    September 13, 2014

  • The transverse convex curvature of exposed decks to accelerate runoff.

    August 25, 2009

  • "... in shipbuilding, a term for any thing that rounds, but chiefly expressed to camber the ways for launching the ship."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 66

    October 14, 2008