Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A barracks in which slaves or convicts were formerly held in temporary confinement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The temporary cage for slaves and indentured servants in the Louisiana Territory and French colonial Africa.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A slave warehouse, or an inclosure where slaves are quartered temporarily.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A barrack or an inclosure containing sheds in which negro slaves were temporarily detained; a slave-pen or slave-depot.

Etymologies

Spanish barracón, augmentative of barraca, hut; see barrack1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Spanish barracón, barraca. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Presently appeared a kind of barracoon, a large square of thick cane-work and thatch about eight feet high, the Fetish house of the

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo

  • Presently appeared a kind of barracoon, a large square of thick cane-work and thatch about eight feet high, the Fetish house of the "Jinkimba" or circumcised boys, who received us with unearthly yells.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo Volume 2

  • They were shut up safely in the "barracoon," -- such was the name of the large building -- and to-morrow, that day, or whenever the captain was ready, he would deliver them over.

    Ran Away to Sea

  • "barracoon;" in the palmy days of the trade slave-pens occupied the ground now covered by the chapel, the schoolroom, and the dwelling-house, and extended over the site of the factory to the river-bank.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo Volume 1

  • The St. Jude Project, Robert Weingart as reformed recidivist, Kermit Abelard as egalitarian poet, Timothy Abelard as the tragic oligarch stricken by a divine hand for defying the natural order, Layton Blanchet as the working-class entrepreneur who amassed millions of dollars through his intelligence and his desire to help small investors, a historic Acadian cottage that hid a barracoon.

    The Glass Rainbow

  • In moments like these, I knew that Louisiana was still a magical place, not terribly different than it was when Jim Bowie and his business partner the pirate Jean Lafitte smuggled slaves illegally into the United States and kept them in a barracoon, somewhere close to the very spot I was standing on.

    The Glass Rainbow

  • And I have seen heads fall like fruit in a slaver's barracoon, And I have seen winged demons fly all naked in the moon '.

    Who are Your Favorite Literary Science Fiction Characters?

  • When we came ashore, he told them to take Josh to the barracoon.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • "Take these to the barracoon, " Bonnet said to the seaman, pushing Josh in his direction and waving at the Fulani.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • He was now a prisoner, and — thrust into a suffocating barracoon, herded with the foulest of mankind, with all imaginable depths of blasphemy and indecency sounded hourly in his sight and hearing — he lost his self – respect, and became what his gaolers took him to be — a wild beast to be locked under bolts and bars, lest he should break out and tear them.

    For the term of his natural life

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "'I see His Majesty takes his seamen where he can get them,' I murmured to Ian.

    'He does for a fact. Mr. Dick here was pressed out of a Guinea pirate, who took him from a slave ship, who in turn took him from a barracoon on the Guinea coast. I'm no so sure whether he thinks His Majesty's accommodations are an improvement—but he says he's got nay particular reservation about going along of us.'"
    —Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (New York: Delacorte Press, 2009), 294

    December 17, 2009

  • An enclosure or barracks formerly used for temporary confinement of slaves or convicts. Used to describe the "housing," such as it was, along the coast of West Africa during the transatlantic slave trade, where captive Africans were held until ships could take them to slavery, most often in South America or the West Indies, but with significant numbers traveling to North America and the Middle East. This very dangerous and often fatal journey was known as the middle passage.

    March 17, 2008