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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 oblong piece of any solid material:
a bar of soap; a candy bar.
the amount of material in a bar.
an ingot, lump, or wedge of gold or silver.
a long ridge of sand, gravel, or other material near or slightly above the surface of the water at or near the mouth of a river or harbor entrance, often constituting an obstruction to navigation.
anything that obstructs, hinders, or impedes; obstacle; barrier:
a bar to important legislation.
a counter or place where beverages, especially liquors, or light meals are served to customers:
a snack bar; a milk bar.
a barroom or tavern.
(in a home) a counter, small wagon, or similar piece of furniture for serving food or beverages:
a breakfast bar.
the legal profession.
the practicing members of the legal profession in a given community.
any tribunal:
the bar of public opinion.
a band or strip:
a bar of light.
a railing in a courtroom separating the general public from the part of the room occupied by the judges, jury, attorneys, etc.
a crowbar.

Also called bar line. the line marking the division between two measures of music.
double bar.
the unit of music contained between two bar lines; measure.

Ballet. barre.

an objection that nullifies an action or claim.
a stoppage or defeat of an alleged right of action.

Typography. a horizontal stroke of a type character, as of an A, H, t, and sometimes e.
Architecture. (in tracery) a relatively long and slender upright of stone treated as a colonette or molded.
Building Trades.

an iron or steel shape:
a muntin.

Military. one of a pair of metal or cloth insignia worn by certain commissioned officers.
bars, the transverse ridges on the roof of the mouth of a horse.
a space between the molar and canine teeth of a horse into which the bit is fitted.
(in a bridle) the mouthpiece connecting the cheeks.
bride2 (def 1).
Heraldry. a horizontal band, narrower than a fess, that crosses the field of an escutcheon.
Obsolete. a gateway capable of being barred.
to equip or fasten with a bar or bars:
Bar the door before retiring for the night.
to block by or as if by bars:
The police barred the exits in an attempt to prevent the thief’s escape.
to prevent or hinder:
They barred her entrance to the club.
to exclude or except:
He was barred from membership because of his reputation.
to mark with bars,ŋ stripes, or bands.
except; omitting; but:
bar none.
at bar, Law.

before the court and being tried:
a case at bar.
before all the judges of a court:
a trial at bar.

behind bars, in jail:
We wanted the criminal behind bars.
mosquito net.
a centimeter-gram-second unit of pressure, equal to one million dynes per square centimeter.
(formerly) microbar.
Abbreviation: b.
Browning automatic rifle.
Bachelor of Architecture.
a handrail placed at hip height, used by a dancer to maintain balance during practice.
Contemporary Examples

“That was bar first made him fall in love with bars,” Sismondo says.
The Bars That Made America Great Nina Strochlic December 27, 2014

The activity is nearly exclusive to a bar setting, and the participants are normally intoxicated.
Dwarf Tossing Should Be Illegal Bill Klein October 22, 2011

Andi West met Homsley at a karaoke show at a Portland bar about a year ago.
The ‘Where’s Waldo’ Bank Robber Winston Ross September 27, 2010

In December 2012, a 20 year old Washington, D.C. resident left a bar and took an Uber home.
The Ten Worst Uber Horror Stories Olivia Nuzzi November 18, 2014

They were advised to “try showing a little class” and “[d]ress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”
Let’s Not Forget: We Were All Teenagers Once Russell Saunders November 30, 2014

Historical Examples

He had no sooner taken his seat than Collins rose at the bar.
The Story of the Upper Canada Rebellion, Volume 1 John Charles Dent

After his admission to the bar, Mr. Chipman received him into partnership.
Biographical Sketches Nathaniel Hawthorne

Crumpling them in his hand he walked to the bar and tossed them to the barkeeper.
‘Firebrand’ Trevison Charles Alden Seltzer

From the bar came the jingle of glasses and loud, cheerful conversation.
K Mary Roberts Rinehart

We cannot afford to put a bar across the 112 difficult road to happiness.
The Affair at the Inn Kate Douglas Wiggin

a rigid usually straight length of metal, wood, etc, that is longer than it is wide or thick, used esp as a barrier or as a structural or mechanical part: a bar of a gate
a solid usually rectangular block of any material: a bar of soap
anything that obstructs or prevents

an offshore ridge of sand, mud, or shingle lying near the shore and parallel to it, across the mouth of a river, bay, or harbour, or linking an island to the mainland
(US & Canadian) an alluvial deposit in a stream, river, or lake

a counter or room where alcoholic drinks are served
a counter, room, or establishment where a particular range of goods, food, services, etc, are sold: a coffee bar, a heel bar
a narrow band or stripe, as of colour or light
a heating element in an electric fire
(in England) the area in a court of law separating the part reserved for the bench and Queen’s Counsel from the area occupied by junior barristers, solicitors, and the general public See also Bar
the place in a court of law where the accused stands during his trial: the prisoner at the bar
a particular court of law
(Brit) (in the House of Lords and House of Commons) the boundary where nonmembers wishing to address either House appear and where persons are arraigned
a plea showing that a plaintiff has no cause of action, as when the case has already been adjudicated upon or the time allowed for bringing the action has passed
anything referred to as an authority or tribunal: the bar of decency
(music) Also called measure

a group of beats that is repeated with a consistent rhythm throughout a piece or passage of music. The number of beats in the bar is indicated by the time signature
another word for bar line

(Brit) insignia added to a decoration indicating a second award
(US) a strip of metal worn with uniform, esp to signify rank or as an award for service

a variant spelling of barre
(sport) See crossbar
(gymnastics) See horizontal bar

part of the metal mouthpiece of a horse’s bridle
the space between the horse’s teeth in which such a part fits

either of two horny extensions that project forwards and inwards from the rear of the outer layer of a horse’s hoof
See crowbar, glazing-bar
(lacemaking, needlework) another name for bride2
(heraldry) an ordinary consisting of a horizontal line across a shield, typically narrower than a fesse, and usually appearing in twos or threes
(maths) a superscript line ⁻ placed over a letter symbol to indicate, for example, a mean value or the complex conjugate of a complex number
behind bars, in prison
(Austral & NZ, informal) won’t have a bar of, wouldn’t have a bar of, cannot tolerate; dislike
verb (transitive) bars, barring, barred
to fasten or secure with a bar: to bar the door
to shut in or out with or as if with barriers: to bar the entrances
to obstruct; hinder: the fallen tree barred the road
(usually foll by from) to prohibit; forbid: to bar a couple from meeting
(usually foll by from) to keep out; exclude: to bar a person from membership
to mark with a bar or bars
(law) to prevent or halt (an action) by showing that the claimant has no cause
to mark off (music) into bars with bar lines
except for: the best recital bar last night’s
bar none, without exception
a cgs unit of pressure equal to 106 dynes per square centimetre. 1 bar is equivalent to 105 newtons per square metre
immunity from being caught or otherwise penalized in a game
a cry for such immunity
noun the Bar
(in England and elsewhere) barristers collectively
(US) the legal profession collectively
(Brit) be called to the Bar, to become a barrister
(Brit) be called within the Bar, to be appointed as a Queen’s Counsel
Browning Automatic Rifle
barrel (container or unit of measure)
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

late 12c., “stake or rod of iron used to fasten a door or gate,” from Old French barre (12c.) “beam, bar, gate, barrier,” from Vulgar Latin *barra “bar, barrier,” which some suggest is from Gaulish *barros “the bushy end” [Gamillscheg], but OED regards this as “discredited” because it “in no way suits the sense.” Of soap, by 1833; of candy, by 1906 (the process itself dates to the 1840s). Meaning “bank of sand across a harbor or river mouth” is from 1580s, probably so called because it was an obstruction to navigation. Bar graph is attested from 1925. Bar code first recorded 1963. Behind bars “in prison” is attested by 1934, U.S.

“tavern,” 1590s, so called in reference to the bars of the barrier or counter over which drinks or food were served to customers (see bar (n.1)).

“whole body of lawyers, the legal profession,” 1550s, a sense which derives ultimately from the railing that separated benchers from the hall in the Inns of Court. Students who had attained a certain standing were “called” to it to take part in the important exercises of the house. After c.1600, however, this was popularly assumed to mean the bar in a courtroom, which was the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge’s seat, where prisoners stood for arraignment and where a barrister (q.v.) stood to plead. As the place where the business of court was done, bar in this sense had become synonymous with “court” by early 14c.

unit of pressure, coined 1903 from Greek baros “weight,” from barys “heavy” (see grave (adj.)).

c.1300, “to fasten (a gate, etc.) with a bar,” from bar (n.1); sense of “to obstruct, prevent” is recorded by 1570s. Expression bar none “without exception” is recorded from 1866.

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

bar (bär)

The international unit of pressure equal to 1 megadyne (106 dyne) per square centimeter or 0.987 atmosphere.

A metal segment of greater length than width which serves to connect two or more parts of a removable partial denture.

A segment of tissue or a tight cellular junction that serves to constrict the passage of fluid, usually urine.


A unit used to measure atmospheric pressure. It is equal to a force of 100,000 newtons per square meter of surface area, or 0.987 atmosphere.

An elongated, offshore ridge of sand, gravel, or other unconsolidated sediment, formed by the action of waves or long-shore currents and submerged at least during high tide. Bars are especially common near the mouths of rivers or estuaries.

A ridgelike mound of sand, gravel or silt formed within a stream, along its banks, or at its mouth. Bars form where the stream’s current slows down, causing sediment to be deposited.

Related Terms

hershey bar, nutball, sidebar, sissy bar

1. /bar/ The second metasyntactic variable, after foo and before baz. E.g. “Suppose function FOO calls functions BAR…”
2. Often appended to foo to produce foobar.
[Jargon File]
Browning Automatic Rifle
Bachelor of Architecture

used to denote the means by which a door is bolted (Neh. 3:3); a rock in the sea (Jonah 2:6); the shore of the sea (Job 38:10); strong fortifications and powerful impediments, etc. (Isa. 45:2; Amos 1:5); defences of a city (1 Kings 4:13). A bar for a door was of iron (Isa. 45:2), brass (Ps. 107:16), or wood (Nah. 3:13).

In addition to the idiom beginning with


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