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.
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.
Informal. to travel or drive very fast: to barrel along the highway.
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.
- half-barrel, noun
- un·bar·reled, adjective
- un·bar·relled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use barrel in a sentence
Each canister is a little larger than a nuclear fuel rod assembly—more like a glove around the spent fuel than the vast barrels at San Onofre—and they are shuttled down the hole in a chain of two or three.Finding homes for the waste that will (probably) outlive humanity | Katie McLean | October 21, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
While the price has recovered from April’s negative price plunge, per-barrel it is still down about 38% from the start of the year.Shell announces big layoffs as the price of its net-zero restructuring plan becomes clearer | kdunn6 | September 30, 2020 | Fortune
The Alberta government estimated in 2019 that the most expensive mining-style projects’ initial break-even price is as steep as $75 or $85 per barrel.After the boom: Canada’s oil capital faces an uncertain future | kdunn6 | September 21, 2020 | Fortune
One argument the industry likes to make is that Alberta’s oil sands have dramatically reduced their emissions per barrel, which have historically been among the highest in the world.After the boom: Canada’s oil capital faces an uncertain future | kdunn6 | September 21, 2020 | Fortune
CalGEM got revenue too — the agency is completely funded by the industry it regulates, and this year will receive 67 cents for every barrel of oil produced.Oil Companies Are Profiting From Illegal Spills. And California Lets Them. | by Janet Wilson, The Desert Sun, and Lylla Younes, ProPublica | September 18, 2020 | ProPublica
But then after three weeks or a months barrelling, you must bottle it.The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened | Kenelm Digby
This must have been stronger stuff than molasses and water, to have been worth barrelling and sending across the water.Customs and Fashions in Old New England | Alice Morse Earle
British Dictionary definitions for barrel
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 animal: the 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
(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
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.