Harbor, shelter, entertain, lodge, house, board are comparable when they mean to provide a place (as in one’s home, quarters, or confines) where someone or something may stay or be kept for a time.
Harbor usually implies provision of a place of refuge especially for a person or an animal that is evil or hunted or noxious. In its extended sense the term suggests the receiving into and cherishing in one’s mind of thoughts, wishes, or designs and especially of those that are evil or harmful.
Shelter, more often than harbor, takes for its subject the place or the thing that affords (as distinguished from the person that supplies) protection or a place of retreat; it also distinctively suggests a threat to one’s comfort or safety (as by the elements, by pursuers or attackers, or by a bombardment); the term further suggests, as harbor does not, a covering or screening.
Entertain basically implies the giving of hospitality to a person as a guest at one’s table or in one’s home. The term often suggests special efforts to provide for his pleasure and comfort. In its extended sense entertain, like harbor, implies admission into the mind, and consequent consideration, of ideas, notions, and fears, but unlike harbor, apart from the context it carries no connotations of their good or evil, benign or noxious, character, or of any prolonged dwelling upon them, or even of deep and serious consideration.
Lodge (see also RESIDE ) implies the supplying or affording a habitation, often a temporary habitation; often it suggests provision merely of a place to sleep and carries no implications of feeding or entertaining. In the extended use of this sense lodge may imply reception as if of a guest or denizen, not only, like harbor, into the mind but into anything thought of as a receptacle or as a place where a thing may be deposited or imbedded.
House usually implies the shelter of a building with a roof and side walls that affords protection from the weather. House is somewhat rare in extended use, but it usually implies enclosing or confining in a particular place.
Board may mean to provide a person with meals at one’s table, but often it implies provision of both room and meals for compensation.