Various boats moored along a shore and at a dock. Photo by Evgenia Basyrova on



  • To secure a vessel to a particular place (such as a pier or the seabed) using an anchor or ropes.


Probably earlier than the 17th century. From the Middle English word, more, and thence from Old English, maerels, both of the same meaning. Also from the Dutch, marren, meaning to tie or fasten.


In this case, it’s a verb, and not to be confused with the terms Moor (i.e. Muslim people from northwest Africa), or moorland.


King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.