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Also called, especially British, barber’s shop. the place of business of a barber.
the singing of four-part harmony in barbershop style or the music sung in this style.
specializing in the unaccompanied part-singing of popular songs in which four voices move in close, highly chromatic harmony:
a barbershop quartet.
characteristic of such part-singing.
Historical Examples

From this he had risen one step and become porter and messenger in a barber-shop.
The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar

“And then to a barber-shop with him,” went on Mrs. Effie, who had paid no heed to his outburst.
Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson

They were standing at a front window, watching Matthews cross the parade-ground to the barber-shop.
The Plow-Woman Eleanor Gates

Right abreast the post-office; Henry Cahoon has been usin’ it for a barber-shop.
Thankful’s Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln

Flynn was intensely proud and fond of the establishment, and was insulted if it was alluded to as a barber-shop.
The Debtor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

I saw a barber-shop with chairs, niches for the soap and mugs, and the waiting sofa.
Reminiscences Hans Mattson

They had moved along the street until they reached a barber-shop, from which proceeded the sound of a violin.
The World For Sale, Complete Gilbert Parker

He resolved to be on the lookout that day for a barber-shop set.
Merton of the Movies Harry Leon Wilson

A little way they walked in silence, the light of the barber-shop falling across the road ahead of them.
The Duke Of Chimney Butte G. W. Ogden

You’ll find a barber-shop and a bootblack around the corner.
Si Klegg, Book 5 (of 6) John McElroy

(mainly US) the premises of a barber
(modifier) denoting or characterized by a type of close four-part harmony for male voices, popular in romantic and sentimental songs of the 1920s and 1930s: a barbershop quartet

1570s, from barber + shop (n.). Earlier in same sense was barbery (c.1500). Barber-shop in reference to close harmony male vocal quartets, it is attested from 1910; the custom of barber’s keeping a musical instrument in their shops so waiting customers could entertain themselves is an old one, but the musical product had a low reputation and barber’s music (c.1660) was “wretched, poorly performed music.”


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