a. A narrow ledge or shelf, as along the top or bottom of a slope.
b. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, & West Virginia The shoulder of a road.
c. A raised bank or path, especially the bank of a canal opposite the towpath.
2. A nearly horizontal or landward-sloping portion of a beach, formed by the deposition of sediment by storm waves.
3. A mound or bank of earth, used especially as a barrier or to provide insulation.
4. The flat space between the edge of a ditch and the base of a fortification.
tr.v. bermed, berm·ing, berms
To provide with a berm or berms.
[French berme, from Dutch berm, from Middle Dutch bærm, berme.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.