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have someone over a barrel

Slang definitions & phrases for have someone over a barrel

get someone over a barrel

verb phrase

To have someone in a helpless position: Okay, you got me over a barrel/ It may look like you got me over a barrel now (1930s+)

have someone over a barrel

verb phrase

To have someone at a disadvantage or in an awkward position

[1938+; apparently in allusion to the state of someone placed over a barrel to clear the lungs of water after being rescued from drowning]

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