[bar-uh l-hous]

noun, plural bar·rel·hous·es [bar-uh l-hou-ziz] /ˈbær əlˌhaʊ zɪz/ 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.

Nearby words

  1. barrelage,
  2. barreleye,
  3. barrelfish,
  4. barrelful,
  5. barrelhead,
  6. barren,
  7. barren ground caribou,
  8. barren grounds,
  9. barren lands,
  10. barren strawberry

Origin of barrelhouse

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; barrel + house Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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

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