1. Also berme. Fortification. a horizontal surface between the exterior slope of a rampart and the moat.
  2. Also called bench. any level strip of ground at the summit or sides, or along the base, of a slope.
  3. Also called backshore, beach berm. a nearly flat back portion of a beach, formed of material deposited by the action of the waves.
  4. Chiefly Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. the bank of a canal or the shoulder of a road.
  5. Chiefly Alaska. a mound of snow or dirt, as formed when clearing land.
  6. a bank of earth placed against an exterior wall or walls of a house or other building as protection against extremes of temperature.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cover or protect with a berm: The side walls were bermed to a height of three feet.


  1. a narrow path or ledge at the edge of a slope, road, or canal
  2. NZ the grass verge of a suburban street, usually kept mown
  3. fortifications a narrow path or ledge between a moat and a rampart
  4. military a man-made ridge of sand, designed as an obstacle to tanks, which, in crossing it, have to expose their vulnerable underparts

“narrow ledge,” 1729, from French berme (17c.), from Old Dutch baerm “edge of a dike,” probably related to brim (q.v.). In U.S., 19c., also the name for the bank of a canal opposite the tow path.

  1. A nearly horizontal or landward-sloping portion of a beach formed by the deposition of sediment by storm waves. A beach may have no berm at all, or it may have more than one berm.
  2. A narrow man-made ledge or shelf, as along the top or bottom of a slope.

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