Port, the fortified after-dinner wine is an abbreviation of Oporto, after the city in the North of Portugal and dates in English from the late 1600s. It is not an abbreviation of Portugal as many suppose. Port as in the left hand side of a ship or a nautical direction or heading, was always the side of the ship that was put against the port or harbour mooring. In olden days, pre-13th century, ships were steered from the right rear by what was known as a ‘steer board’. Ships had to be docked or moored on the left or port side to avoid damaging this steer board. This meaning of port dates from the 1500s and replaced the earlier larboard (the side from which ships were laden or loaded with cargo) because larboard and starboard sounded too similar in critical conditions. See also Starboard.