a cheap saloon, especially one in New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century: so called from the racks of liquor barrels originally placed along the walls.
a vigorous style of jazz originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century.
(US) a cheap and disreputable drinking establishment
a vigorous and unpolished style of jazz for piano, originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans
(as modifier): barrelhouse blues
“cheap saloon, often with an associated brothel,” by 1875, American English, so called in reference to the barrels of beer or booze typically stacked along the wall. See barrel (n.) + house (n.).
Q. What was this place you rented? — A. It was a room adjoining a barrel-house.
Q. What is a barrel house? — A. It is a room where barrels of whisky are tapped, a very inferior kind of whisky, and the whisky is sold by the glassful right out of the barrel. It is a primitive coffee house. [Committee Report of the 43rd Congress, Select Committee on Conditions of the South, 1874-75]
: barrelhouse jazz/ barrelhouse beat
A cheap saloon, esp one in combination with a brothel: Barrelhouse kings, with feet unstable (1880s+)
A jazz style marked by strong beat and ensemble improvisation; also, music in this style (1920s+ Jazz musicians)
- Barrel knot
a knot for fastening together two strands of gut or nylon, as fishing lines or leaders.
- Barrel of fun
barrel of fun noun phrase A great amount of fun; a person who is a lot of fun: the hibachi chef is a barrel of fun
- Barrel of laughs
noun something or someone who is very funny Examples This board game is a barrel of laughs. Usage Note slang
- Barrel of monkeys
noun good-natured pandemonium Examples Perhaps it’s the silliness of the image, or how perplexed and tickled you’d feel if you ever saw a barrel of monkeys. Word Origin based on what would happen if monkeys were in a barrel Usage Note slang