noun, verb (used with or without object), bar·be·qued, bar·be·qu·ing.


or bar·be·que, bar-b-que



pieces of beef, fowl, fish, or the like, roasted over an open hearth, especially when basted in a barbecue sauce.
a framework, as a grill or a spit, or a fireplace for cooking meat or vegetables over an open fire.
a dressed steer, lamb, or other animal, roasted whole.
a meal, usually in the open air and often as a political or social gathering, at which meats are roasted over an open hearth or pit.

verb (used with object), bar·be·cued, bar·be·cu·ing.

to broil or roast whole or in large pieces over an open fire, on a spit or grill, often seasoning with vinegar, spices, salt, and pepper.
to cook (sliced or diced meat or fish) in a highly seasoned sauce.

verb (used without object), bar·be·cued, bar·be·cu·ing.

to cook by barbecuing or to entertain at a barbecue: If the weather's nice, we'll barbecue in the backyard.

Origin of barbecue

1655–65; < Spanish barbacoa < Arawak (perhaps Taino) barbacoa a raised frame of sticks
Related formsbar·be·cu·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for barbeque

Contemporary Examples of barbeque

  • The place where jazz and barbeque and mob bosses and the blues flourished.

  • Finally, it is summer and one other wine to enjoy outside around the barbeque would be the Tobin James Sauvignon Blanc.

    The Daily Beast logo
    William Shatner Picks His Favorite Wines

    William Shatner

    July 4, 2014

  • On the Fourth of July, a barbeque was held with Coca-Cola and grilled sausages and partygoers sang the American national anthem.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Kremlin’s Extremist Youth Camp

    Anna Nemtsova

    August 10, 2011

  • She wrote that to a group of her closest aides, presumably in preparation for a barbeque in the summer of 2008.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Quirks in the Sarah Palin Emails

    Shushannah Walshe, Michael Falcone

    June 12, 2011

  • I love to barbeque and his recipes are simple and easy to make.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Fresh Picks

    Lee Brian Schrager

    February 16, 2010

Historical Examples of barbeque

  • Next weekend my mom and dad are going to Saturn for a barbeque.

  • And, separated by a hedge, a brown tent with a barbeque pit before it, smoke rising in a rigid ribbon from the chimney.


    Charles Beaumont

  • The pretty waitress lighted a gas-heater with a barbeque lighter, took our orders and went inside.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

British Dictionary definitions for barbeque



a meal cooked out of doors over an open fire
an outdoor party or picnic at which barbecued food is served
a grill or fireplace used in barbecuing
the food so cooked

verb -cues, -cuing or -cued (tr)

to cook (meat, fish, etc) on a grill, usually over charcoal and often with a highly seasoned sauce
to cook (meat, fish, etc) in a highly seasoned sauce

Word Origin for barbecue

C17: from American Spanish barbacoa, probably from Taino: frame made of sticks
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 barbeque



1660s, from barbecue (n.). Related: Barbecued; barbecuing.



1650s, "framework for grilling meat, fish, etc.," from American Spanish barbacoa, from Arawakan (Haiti) barbakoa "framework of sticks," the raised wooden structure the Indians used to either sleep on or cure meat. Sense of "outdoor meal of roasted meat or fish as a social entertainment" is from 1733; modern popular noun sense of "grill for cooking over an open fire" is from 1931.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper