a handrail placed at hip height, used by a dancer to maintain balance during practice.
Textiles. a pattern of stripes or bands of color extending across the warp in woven and knitted fabrics.
Textiles. a streak in the filling direction when one or more picks are of a color different from that of adjacent picks.
Music. a technique of playing a chord on a stringed instrument by laying a finger across the strings at a particular fret, raising their pitch.
Contemporary Examples

In 1999, I was a junior in high school, and a big story in the small town of barre, Vermont, as a suspected school shooter.
My Strange Passage From Suspected School Shooter to Prom Queen Gina Tron January 27, 2013

The dancer—and Balanchine’s wife and muse—broke barriers for Native Americans at the barre and graced stages all over the world.
Farewell to America’s Ballerina: Remembering Maria Tallchief Nina Strochlic April 12, 2013

Like with so many “weird kids,” I left most of my nasty cycle behind when I left barre to go to college.
My Strange Passage From Suspected School Shooter to Prom Queen Gina Tron January 27, 2013

Historical Examples

Continuing the wandering one reached the fine old town gate, the ancient Porte de la barre, in a good state of preservation.
Vanished Halls and Cathedrals of France George Warton Edwards

barre, as we have said, sided with the Mountain on this occasion.
Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3) Thomas Babington Macaulay

All the other chiefs of parties had some good qualities; and barre had none.
Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3) Thomas Babington Macaulay

But there is that horrible Lactantius, who lives peacefully, barre, and Mignon.
Cinq Mars, Complete Alfred de Vigny

I guess I’m in the wrong pew politically; very few democrats in barre.
Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864 Lemuel Abijah Abbott

He told me he had cut thorough him a barre’s length, for he durst not write so boldly.
Brief Lives (Vol. 1 of 2) John Aubrey

Two remain vague—a fattish, holiday-making banker and a consumptive from barre, Vermont.
The Best Short Stories of 1921 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story Various

a rail at hip height used for ballet practice and leg exercises
the act of laying the index finger over some or all of the strings of a guitar, lute, or similar instrument, so that the pitch of each stopped string is simultaneously raised Compare capo1
the playing of chords in this manner
to execute (chords) in this manner
by using the barré

1876, in reference to chords played on a guitar, etc., from French, literally “bar” (see bar (n.1)).


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  • Barre chord

    a musical chord that is played on a stringed instrument using the barré technique.

  • Barred

    provided with one or more bars: a barred prison window. striped; streaked: barred fabrics. Ornithology. (of feathers) marked with transverse bands of distinctive color. a relatively long, evenly shaped piece of some solid substance, as metal or wood, used as a guard or obstruction or for some mechanical purpose: the bars of a cage. an […]

  • Barred i

    a high central vowel with phonetic quality approximating that of the vowels in pit, put, putt, or pet, and considered by most phonologists as a phonetic variant of one of these vowels, depending on the context, but by some as an autonomous phoneme in some varieties of English. the phonetic symbol ɨ.

  • Barred owl

    a large owl, Strix varia, of eastern North America, having its breast barred and abdomen streaked with dark brown. Historical Examples And when that ceased a barred owl hooted in the woods, away to the north. Rolf In The Woods Ernest Thompson Seton I retired to the vicinity of the willows and uttered the cry […]

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