• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. an animal or person that barks.
  2. a person who stands before a theater, carnival sideshow, or the like, calling out its attractions to passers-by.

Origin of barker1

First recorded in 1350–1400, barker is from the Middle English word berker, berkar. See bark1, -er1


  1. a person or thing that removes bark from trees.
  2. a person or thing that prepares bark for tanning.

Origin of barker2

1375–1425, earlier as surname; late Middle English. See bark2 (v.), -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for barker

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So help me, if I had had a barker I'd have fired a shot across your bows.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • "It's Mr. Barker," exclaimed one of the ladies, regarding me brightly.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Sea captains and ship owners were Stone & Barker's best customers.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "The plundering was shameful," says Lieutenant Barker indignantly.

  • On the fifth of May Lieutenant Barker records the discovery of a "most shocking" plot.

British Dictionary definitions for barker


  1. an animal or person that barks
  2. a person who stands at a show, fair booth, etc, and loudly addresses passers-by to attract customers


  1. a person or machine that removes bark from trees or logs or prepares it for tanning


  1. George (Granville). 1913–91, British poet: author of Calamiterror (1937) and The True Confession of George Barker (1950)
  2. Howard . born 1946, British playwright: his plays include Claw (1975), The Castle (1985), A Hard Heart (1992), and 13 Objects (2003)
  3. Ronnie, full name Ronald William George Barker . 1929–2005, British comedian: known esp for his partnership with Ronnie Corbett (born 1930) in the TV series The Two Ronnies (1971–85)
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

Word Origin and History for barker


"noisy fellow," late 15c., agent noun from bark (v.). Specific sense of "loud assistant in an auction, store, or show" is from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper