- a cylindrical wooden container with slightly bulging sides made of staves hooped together, and with flat, parallel ends.
- the quantity that such a vessel of some standard size can hold: for most liquids, 31½ U.S. gallons (119 L); for petroleum, 42 U.S. gallons (159 L); for dry materials, 105 U.S. dry quarts (115 L). Abbreviation: bbl
- any large quantity: a barrel of fun.
- any container, case, or part similar to a wooden barrel in form.
- Ordnance. the tube of a gun.
- Machinery. the chamber of a pump in which the piston works.
- a drum turning on a shaft, as in a weight-driven clock.
- Horology. the cylindrical case in a watch or clock within which the mainspring is coiled.
- Ornithology Obsolete. a calamus or quill.
- the trunk of a quadruped, especially of a horse, cow, etc.
- Nautical. the main portion of a capstan, about which the rope winds, between the drumhead at the top and the pawl rim at the bottom.
- a rotating horizontal cylinder in which manufactured objects are coated or polished by tumbling in a suitable substance.
- any structure having the form of a barrel vault.
- Also called throat. Automotive. a passageway in a carburetor that has the shape of a Venturi tube.
- to put or pack in a barrel or barrels.
- to finish (metal parts) by tumbling in a barrel.
- Informal. to force to go or proceed at high speed: He barreled his car through the dense traffic.
- Informal. to travel or drive very fast: to barrel along the highway.
- over a barrel, Informal. in a helpless, weak, or awkward position; unable to act: They really had us over a barrel when they foreclosed the mortgage.
Origin of barrel
Examples from the Web for barrel
That clear spirit is what goes into every barrel of The Macallan.
And for Scotch in particular—which can spend decades in the barrel—wood is critical to the finished spirit.
Gelhaus proceeded to fire eight shots at Gonzalez, striking him seven times, when he said Gonzalez raised the barrel.Worse Than Eric Garner: Cops Who Got Away With Killing Autistic Men and Little Girls
December 4, 2014
On his knees, he pulls out a gun and places the barrel inside his mouth.The Walking Dead’s ‘Self Help’: A Grim Show Displays Its Comedy Streak, and A Major Reveal
November 10, 2014
There were a lot of folks begging us to confront the Assad regime or at least create a no fly zone and stop the barrel bombs.Exclusive: America’s Allies Almost Bombed in Syrian Airstrikes
September 30, 2014
He gave the writer of the note sixpence and a barrel pen for his trouble.The Story of the Invention of Steel Pens
A barrel may sound hollow, but not a bird--this wiseacre acquaints us.De Libris: Prose and Verse
And at extreme ranges, the forward one-third of the barrel is the point of aim.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
The barrel of beer is in the corner but it is sacred as the honour of the regiment!Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
One could see the negro now; he sat on a barrel at the end of the room.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
- a cylindrical container usually bulging outwards in the middle and held together by metal hoops; cask
- Also called: barrelful the amount that a barrel can hold
- a unit of capacity used in brewing, equal to 36 Imperial gallons
- a unit of capacity used in the oil and other industries, normally equal to 42 US gallons or 35 Imperial gallons
- a thing or part shaped like a barrel, esp a tubular part of a machine
- the tube through which the projectile of a firearm is discharged
- horology the cylindrical drum in a watch or clock that is rotated by the mainspring
- the trunk of a four-legged animalthe barrel of a horse
- the quill of a feather
- informal a large measure; a great deal (esp in the phrases barrel of fun, barrel of laughs)
- Australian informal the hollow inner side of a wave
- over a barrel informal powerless
- scrape the barrel informal to be forced to use one's last and weakest resource
- (tr) to put into a barrel or barrels
- (intr ; foll by along, in, etc) informal (intr) to travel or move very fast
- Australian informal to ride on the inside of a wave
Word Origin and History for barrel
c.1300, from Old French baril (12c.) "barrel, cask, vat," with cognates in all Romance languages (e.g. Italian barile, Spanish barril), but origin uncertain; perhaps from Gaulish, perhaps somehow related to bar (n.1). Meaning "metal tube of a gun" is from 1640s. Barrel roll in aeronautics is from 1927.
mid-15c., "to put in barrels," from barrel (n.). Meaning "to move quickly" is 1930, American English slang, perhaps suggestive of a rolling barrel. Related: Barreled; barreling.