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[bahrj] /bɑrdʒ/
a capacious, flat-bottomed vessel, usually intended to be pushed or towed, for transporting freight or passengers; lighter.
a vessel of state used in pageants:
elegantly decorated barges on the Grand Canal in Venice.
Navy. a boat reserved for a flag officer.
a boat that is heavier and wider than a shell, often used in racing as a training boat.
New England (chiefly Older Use) . a large, horse-drawn coach or, sometimes, a bus.
verb (used without object), barged, barging.
to move clumsily; bump into things; collide:
to barge through a crowd.
to move in the slow, heavy manner of a barge.
verb (used with object), barged, barging.
to carry or transport by barge:
Coal and ore had been barged down the Ohio to the Mississippi.
Verb phrases
barge in, to intrude, especially rudely:
I hated to barge in without an invitation.
barge into,
  1. Also, barge in on. to force oneself upon, especially rudely; interfere in:
    to barge into a conversation.
  2. to bump into; collide with:
    He started to run away and barged into a passer-by.
Origin of barge
1250-1300; Middle English < Middle French, perhaps < Latin *bārica; see bark3
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for barge
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The revenue captain gave the required pledge, and his sword was restored; after which his men were permitted to man the barge.

  • The barge returned after some delay, for none of her party were out of their rooms.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • After lying alongside the barge for a minute or two she turned her head, and made back again with all speed.

  • "That's unfortunate," he replied, running his barge upon the bank.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • He started from West Point in a barge, with some officers and men.

    The Yankee Tea-party Henry C. Watson
  • We ran to the landing-place at the lower end of the island, and embarked in the barge.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for barge


a vessel, usually flat-bottomed and with or without its own power, used for transporting freight, esp on canals
a vessel, often decorated, used in pageants, for state occasions, etc
(navy) a boat allocated to a flag officer, used esp for ceremonial occasions and often carried on board his flagship
(jocular, derogatory) any vessel, esp an old or clumsy one
(Austral, informal) a heavy or cumbersome surfboard
(informal) (intransitive) foll by into. to bump (into)
(transitive) (informal) to push (someone or one's way) violently
(intransitive; foll by into or in) (informal) to interrupt rudely or clumsily: to barge into a conversation
(transitive) (sailing) to bear down on (another boat or boats) at the start of a race
(transitive) to transport by barge
(intransitive) (informal) to move slowly or clumsily
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin barga, probably from Late Latin barca a small boat; see barque
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
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Word Origin and History for barge

c.1300, "small seagoing vessel with sails," from Old French barge, Old Provençal barca, from Medieval Latin barga, perhaps from Celtic, or perhaps from Latin *barica, from Greek baris "Egyptian boat," from Coptic bari "small boat." Meaning "flat-bottomed freight boat" dates from late 15c.


"to journey by barge," 1590s, from barge (n.). The form barge into and the sense "crash heavily into," in reference to the rough handling of barges, dates from 1830s, American English. Related: Barged; barging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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