[bar-uh l]


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.

Nearby words

  1. barre,
  2. barred,
  3. barred i,
  4. barred owl,
  5. barred spiral galaxy,
  6. barrel bolt,
  7. barrel cactus,
  8. barrel chair,
  9. barrel chest,
  10. barrel cuff


    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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for barreling

British Dictionary definitions for barreling



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 barreling
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with barreling


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.