Dictionary: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


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).
Abbreviation: bbl.
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.
Historical Examples

But then after three weeks or a months barrelling, you must bottle it.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened Kenelm Digby

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.

v,v phr

To speed, esp to drive a car very fast (late 1920s+)

Related Terms

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).


both barrels
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
pork barrel
rotten apple (spoils the barrel)


Read Also:

  • Barren

    not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman. unproductive; unfruitful: barren land. without capacity to interest or attract: a barren period in American architecture. mentally unproductive; dull; stupid. not producing results; fruitless: a barren effort. destitute; bereft; lacking (usually followed by of): barren of tender feelings. Usually, barrens. level or slightly rolling […]

  • Barren grounds

    a sparsely inhabited region of tundra in N Canada, especially in the area W of Hudson Bay. Historical Examples Beyond that, to the east and north, lie the primitive rocks of the Barren Grounds, into which the buffaloes never stray. The Young Voyageurs Mayne Reid Among other creatures that remain all winter upon the Barren […]

  • Barren ground caribou

    a migrating caribou of the North American tundra and taiga, having many-branched slender antlers. Historical Examples The corresponding parasite of the barren ground caribou is a similar or perhaps identical species, with a parallel life history. The Barren Ground Caribou of Keewatin Francis Harper Among hunters and sportsmen, two divisions have long been known, namely, […]

  • Barren land

    a sparsely inhabited region of tundra in N Canada, especially in the area W of Hudson Bay. Historical Examples Suddenly he finds himself transported into a bleak and barren land where the shades flit to and fro. The Visions of the Sleeping Bard Ellis Wynne This part of the island is the most barren land […]

Disclaimer: Barrelling definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.