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).
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.
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.
It is a view that suggests, to paraphrase Mao, that justice grows out of the barrel of a gun.
The Wyatt Earp Myth: America’s Most Famous Vigilante Wasn’t Andrew C. Isenberg July 20, 2013
As you can see on your screens, this young soldier is trying to strangle me with the barrel of his carbine.
This 1979 Novel Predicted Putin’s Invasion Of Crimea Michael Weiss May 17, 2014
Too much time in barrel equals a woody tasting, overly buttery, finish.
William Shatner Picks His Favorite Wines William Shatner July 3, 2014
With oil above $100 a barrel, and gas nearing $4 a gallon, doomsayers wrongly predict the end of the recovery.
Don’t Freak About Oil Prices! Zachary Karabell March 8, 2011
Paying cash on the barrel–or reducing your debt balances–raises the pain of acquiring the stuff.
Ask the Blogger Megan McArdle December 2, 2012
On the island thus formed the barrel and some coal-bags floated about in the channel.
Farthest North Fridtjof Nansen
A barrel may sound hollow, but not a bird–this wiseacre acquaints us.
De Libris: Prose and Verse Austin Dobson
In one of the huts was discovered the barrel of a carbine and percussion lock.
In Darkest Africa, Vol. 1; or, The quest, rescue and retreat of Emin, governor of Equatoria Henry Morton Stanley
On top of the barrel was a tin coffeepot, a china cup, and half a loaf of bread.
The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
He received a summons to appear before the president, who said: “Sir, I am informed that you have a barrel of ale in your room.”
The American Joe Miller Various
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)
(Austral, informal) the hollow inner side of a wave
(informal) over a barrel, powerless
(informal) scrape the barrel, to be forced to use one’s last and weakest resource
verb -rels, -relling, -relled (US) -rels, -reling, -reled
(transitive) to put into a barrel or barrels
(intransitive; foll by along, in, etc) (informal) (intransitive) to travel or move very fast
(Austral, informal) to ride on the inside of a wave
c.1300, from Old French baril (12c.) “barrel, cask, vat,” with cognates in all Romance languages (e.g. Italian barile, Spanish barril), but origin uncertain; perhaps from Gaulish, perhaps somehow related to bar (n.1). Meaning “metal tube of a gun” is from 1640s. Barrel roll in aeronautics is from 1927.
mid-15c., “to put in barrels,” from barrel (n.). Meaning “to move quickly” is 1930, American English slang, perhaps suggestive of a rolling barrel. Related: Barreled; barreling.
To speed, esp to drive a car very fast (late 1920s+)
cracker-barrel, in the barrel, like shooting fish in a barrel, over a barrel, scrape the bottom of the barrel
a vessel used for keeping flour (1 Kings 17:12, 14, 16). The same word (cad) so rendered is also translated “pitcher,” a vessel for carrying water (Gen. 24:14; Judg. 7:16).
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
rotten apple (spoils the barrel)
- Barrel ass
to charge headlong; move at high speed. verb phrase To barrel: We’re barrel-assing toward Van Nuys (1950s+ Hot rodders)
- Barrel chair
an easy chair having a high, semicircular back forming a single upholstered piece with the wings or arms; tub chair. Historical Examples Then father was coaxed to sit down in the barrel chair, and try its strength and its softness, and guess what it was made of. Little Fishers: and their Nets Pansy We made […]
- Barrel bolt
a rod-shaped bolt for fastening a door or the like, attached to one side of the door at the edge and sliding into a socket on the frame of the opening.
- Barrel cactus
any of several large, cylindrical, ribbed, spiny cacti of the genera Echinocactus and Ferocactus. Historical Examples He lives upon the barrel cactus, a plant so protected by spines as to seem unapproachable by man or animal. The Mystic Mid-Region Arthur J. Burdick Near by springs up the barrel cactus, a forbidding column no one dares […]