Try Our Apps


WATCH "Lumbersexual"


[bahrf] /bɑrf/
verb, noun, Slang.
Origin of barf
1955-60; expressive word of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for barf
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On being asked who he was, the occupant stood up and replied in a Cockney voice: "Sikey at the barf!"

  • Phillips says that it is equivalent to 'barf,' and means 'a detached hill.'

  • "I ain't had a barf since Gravesend," said Dickie, and flushed at the indiscretion.

    Harding's luck E. [Edith] Nesbit
  • Yes, yes; barf is as happy as a boy now, but I remember when he was back-set and fore-set with trouble.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • barf Latrigg was sixty then, turning a bit gray, but able to shear with any man they could put against him.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • barf had lost his sight when I got there; but he knew my voice, and he asked me to lay my face against his face.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • Charlotte, I have been coming to barf Latrigg's shearings for about half a century.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • barf's married daughters had their portions long ago, but he left each of them three hundred pounds as a good-will token.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • barf Latrigg is ageing fast now; he was my father's crony; if I slighted him, I should feel as if father knew about it.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
British Dictionary definitions for barf


verb (transitive)
to vomit
the act of vomiting
the matter ejected in vomiting
Word Origin
C20: probably of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for barf

"to vomit or retch,"1960, American English slang, probably imitative. Related: Barfed; barfing. As a noun, from 1966. Barf bag "air sickness pouch" attested from 1966.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for barf



An exclamation of strong disgust: You want to know what I think of it? Barf! (1970s+)


  1. To vomit (1950s+ chiefly students)
  2. To respond strangely or with an error warning after unacceptable input: This machine barfs when I ask for a simple sort

[Computer 1980s+; probably echoic]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
barf in Technology

/barf/ [mainstream slang for "vomit"] 1. Term of disgust. This is the closest hackish equivalent of the Val\-speak "gag me with a spoon". (Like, euwww!) See bletch.
2. To say "Barf!" or emit some similar expression of disgust. "I showed him my latest hack and he barfed" means only that he complained about it, not that he literally vomited.
3. To fail to work because of unacceptable input, perhaps with a suitable error message, perhaps not. Examples: "The division operation barfs if you try to divide by 0." (That is, the division operation checks for an attempt to divide by zero, and if one is encountered it causes the operation to fail in some unspecified, but generally obvious, manner.) "The text editor barfs if you try to read in a new file before writing out the old one".
See choke, gag.
In Commonwealth Hackish, "barf" is generally replaced by "puke" or "vom". barf is sometimes also used as a metasyntactic variable, like foo or bar.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
Related Abbreviations for barf


best available retrofit facility
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for barf

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for barf

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for barf