barrel

[bar-uh l]

noun

verb (used with object), bar·reled, bar·rel·ing or (especially British) bar·relled, bar·rel·ling.

verb (used without object), bar·reled, bar·rel·ing or (especially British) bar·relled, bar·rel·ling.

Informal. to travel or drive very fast: to barrel along the highway.

Idioms

    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

1250–1300; Middle English barell < Anglo-French baril, Old French barril < Vulgar Latin *barrīculum, equivalent to *barrīc(a), perhaps derivative of Late Latin barra bar1 + Latin -ulum -ule; compare Medieval Latin (circa 800) barriclus small cask
Related formshalf-bar·rel, nounun·bar·reled, adjectiveun·bar·relled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for barrel

pipe, cylinder, drum, cask, keg, hogshead, butt, vessel, receptacle, vat, firkin, tun, tub

Examples from the Web for barrel

Contemporary Examples of barrel

Historical Examples of barrel


British Dictionary definitions for barrel

barrel

noun

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

verb -rels, -relling or -relled or US -rels, -reling or -reled

(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 for barrel

C14: from Old French baril perhaps from barre bar 1
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 barrel
n.

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.

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with barrel

barrel

see both barrels; bottom of the barrel; cash on the barrelhead; like shooting fish in a barrel; lock, stock, and barrel; more fun than a barrel of monkeys; over a barrel; pork barrel; rotten apple (spoils the barrel).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.