[ bar-uhl ]
/ ˈbær əl /
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a cylindrical wooden container with slightly bulging sides made of staves hooped together, and with flat, parallel ends.
the quantity that such a vessel of some standard size can hold: for most liquids, 31½ U.S. gallons (119 L); for petroleum, 42 U.S. gallons (159 L); for dry materials, 105 U.S. dry quarts (115 L). Abbreviation: bbl
any large quantity: a barrel of fun.
any container, case, or part similar to a wooden barrel in form.
Ordnance. the tube of a gun.
Machinery. the chamber of a pump in which the piston works.
a drum turning on a shaft, as in a weight-driven clock.
Horology. the cylindrical case in a watch or clock within which the mainspring is coiled.
Ornithology Obsolete. a calamus or quill.
the trunk of a quadruped, especially of a horse, cow, etc.
Nautical. the main portion of a capstan, about which the rope winds, between the drumhead at the top and the pawl rim at the bottom.
a rotating horizontal cylinder in which manufactured objects are coated or polished by tumbling in a suitable substance.
any structure having the form of a barrel vault.
Also called throat. Automotive. a passageway in a carburetor that has the shape of a Venturi tube.
verb (used with object), bar·reled, bar·rel·ing or (especially British) bar·relled, bar·rel·ling.
to put or pack in a barrel or barrels.
to finish (metal parts) by tumbling in a barrel.
Informal. to force to go or proceed at high speed: He barreled his car through the dense traffic.
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.
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Idioms about barrel
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
OTHER WORDS FROM barrelhalf-barrel, nounun·bar·reled, adjectiveun·bar·relled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use barrel in a sentence
In the evening, crossed the glassy bay and motored to pay a double-barrelled visit to the Military and Civil Governors.Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2|Ian Hamilton
Oscard immediately went to his tent and came out with his short-barrelled, evil-looking rifle on his arm.With Edged Tools|Henry Seton Merriman
The tenderfoot carried two short-barrelled Colt's revolvers, one of which he presented directly at Black Hank.Blazed Trail Stories|Stewart Edward White
He took with him his usual two-barrelled gun, a supply of cartridges, and some biscuits and other provisions.The Devil-Tree of El Dorado|Frank Aubrey
Nat himself intended to carry only his sword, and a double-barrelled pistol in his belt.A Roving Commission|G. A. Henty
British Dictionary definitions for barrel
/ (ˈbærəl) /
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.