Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[bar-uh l-hous] /ˈbær əlˌhaʊs/
noun, plural barrelhouses
[bar-uh l-hou-ziz] /ˈbær əlˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA),
for 1.
a cheap saloon, especially one in New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century: so called from the racks of liquor barrels originally placed along the walls.
a vigorous style of jazz originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century.
Origin of barrelhouse
An Americanism dating back to 1880-85; barrel + house Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for barrelhouse


(US) a cheap and disreputable drinking establishment
  1. a vigorous and unpolished style of jazz for piano, originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans
  2. (as modifier): barrelhouse blues
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 barrelhouse

"cheap saloon, often with an associated brothel," by 1875, American English, so called in reference to the barrels of beer or booze typically stacked along the wall. See barrel (n.) + house (n.).

Q. What was this place you rented? -- A. It was a room adjoining a barrel-house.
Q. What is a barrel house? -- A. It is a room where barrels of whisky are tapped, a very inferior kind of whisky, and the whisky is sold by the glassful right out of the barrel. It is a primitive coffee house. [Committee Report of the 43rd Congress, Select Committee on Conditions of the South, 1874-75]

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



: barrelhouse jazz/ barrelhouse beat


  1. A cheap saloon, esp one in combination with a brothel: Barrelhouse kings, with feet unstable (1880s+)
  2. A jazz style marked by strong beat and ensemble improvisation; also, music in this style (1920s+ Jazz musicians)
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

Word of the Day

Nearby words for barrelhouse

Word Value for barrelhouse

Scrabble Words With Friends