from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A relatively long, straight, rigid piece of solid material used as a fastener, support, barrier, or structural or mechanical member.
  • noun A solid oblong block of a substance or combination of ingredients, such as soap or candy.
  • noun Any of various flat baked confections that are typically dense and harder than cakes and served cut into rectangular pieces.
  • noun A rectangular block of a precious metal.
  • noun A horizontal rod that marks the height to be cleared in high jumping or pole vaulting.
  • noun A standard, expectation, or degree of requirement.
  • noun Something that impedes or prevents action or progress.
  • noun A ridge, as of sand or gravel, on a shore or streambed, that is formed by the action of tides or currents.
  • noun A narrow marking, as a stripe or band.
  • noun A narrow metal or embroidered strip worn on a military uniform indicating rank or service.
  • noun Chiefly British A small insignia worn on a military decoration indicating that it has been awarded an additional time.
  • noun Heraldry A pair of horizontal parallel lines drawn across a shield.
  • noun The nullification, defeat, or prevention of a claim or action.
  • noun The process by which nullification, defeat, or prevention is achieved.
  • noun The railing in a courtroom separating the participants in a legal proceeding from the spectators.
  • noun A court or courtroom.
  • noun Attorneys considered as a group. Used with the.
  • noun The profession of law. Used with the.
  • noun A vertical line drawn through a staff to mark off a measure.
  • noun A measure.
  • noun A counter at which drinks, especially alcoholic drinks, and sometimes food, are served.
  • noun An establishment or room having such a counter.
  • transitive verb To fasten securely with a long, straight, rigid piece of material.
  • transitive verb To shut in or confine.
  • transitive verb To obstruct or impede; block.
  • transitive verb To keep out; exclude.
  • transitive verb To prohibit or prevent (someone) from doing something.
  • transitive verb To prohibit (an action).
  • transitive verb Law To nullify, defeat, or prevent (a claim or action).
  • transitive verb To rule out; except.
  • transitive verb To mark with stripes or bands.
  • preposition Chiefly British Except for; excluding.
  • idiom (behind bars) In prison.
  • noun A unit of pressure equal to one million (106) dynes per square centimeter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To fasten with a bar, or as with a bar.
  • To hinder; obstruct; prevent; prohibit; restrain.
  • To except; exclude by exception.
  • To provide with a bar or bars; mark with bars; cross with one or more stripes or lines.
  • To make into bars.
  • Except; omitting; but: as, to offer to bet two to one against any horse bar one.


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

[Middle English barre, from Old French; see barre.]

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

[Greek baros, weight; see gwerə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek βάρος (baros, "weight"), coined c. 1900.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English barre, from Old French barre


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word bar.


  • I'm not going to pretend that these or any granola bar, a category of foods filled with high-fructose corn syrup and other stuff is any healthier than a candy bar*, but it's so damned good.

    August 13th, 2006 yendi 2006

  • It must be remembered that the boats had entered the Niger by the _Brass_ river, the bar of which was _his bar_, and that he had bargained to act as pilot through its mouth, so that there was ample excuse for the poor wretch; this, however, in no degree lessened the danger of the position in which the little _Lark_ was placed.

    Our Sailors Gallant Deeds of the British Navy during Victoria's Reign William Henry Giles Kingston 1847

  • The currents are very rapid, and carry with them quantities of sand, which the sea throws back towards the coast; this it is that forms a bar at the mouth of the river; but the currents have opened themselves a passage, which is called the _pass of the bar_.

    Naufrage de la frigate la Méduse. English Jean Baptiste Henri Savigny 1818

  • I find in the music of the _Fandango_, written under one bar, _Salida_, which signifies _going out_; it is where the woman is to part a little from her partner, and to move slowly by herself; and I suppose it was at _that bar_ the lady was so overcome, as to determine not to return.

    A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 Volume 1 (of 2) Philip Thicknesse 1755

  • According to Ulrich von Hutten the elephant 'fuit mirabile animal, habens longum rostrum in magna quantitate; et quando vidit Papam tunc geniculavit ei et dixit cum terribili voce _bar, bar, bar_' (apud Theophilo Braga, _Gil Vicente e as

    Four Plays of Gil Vicente Gil Vicente 1501

  • The only window-based interface element in the QuickTime X Player is reportedly the title bar, which is reminiscent of the iPhone's semi-transparent black glass interface while also adopting hues from the video frames playing beneath it.

    AppleInsider 2009

  • The only window-based interface element in the QuickTime X Player is reportedly the title bar, which is reminiscent of the iPhone's semi-transparent black glass interface while also adopting hues from the video frames playing beneath it.

    MacRumors : Mac News and Rumors 2009

  • I know I'm using one at least one or two versions old although it appears that the biggest change was just the start button and such, the shading on the title bar which is what seems to catch peoples' eyes is still the same

    Five Best Free Data Recovery Tools | Lifehacker Australia 2009

  • Put your mouse pointer on the title bar of that window, literally give it a "shake," and all other open programs minimize and disappear.

    Robert J. Elisberg: The Writers Workbench: Windows 7, Part One 2010

  • Between the title bar, menu bar, tabbed sites and the Windows start bar, around 40 per cent of the screen gets chewed up.

    The Definitive Guide To Making The Most Of Your Netbook | Lifehacker Australia 2010


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  • See foo.

    October 4, 2007

  • I love programming language grammar and the way it folds, spindles and mutilates English.

    October 23, 2007

  • A pub room with a servery.

    February 17, 2008

  • A pub room with service and not necessarily one with a servery (also called a bar) in it. There are several different types of bars.

    Thank you Barrie Pepper.

    February 17, 2008

  • The Fascist Italianization was the violent and systematic process by which, between 1924 and 1945, the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini forced foreign populations living in Italy to assume Italian culture and language, and worked on erasing any traces of existence of other nations on the territory of Mussolini's Italy.

    In the 1930s a program of Italianization of the language was started. Foreign words were forbidden and new Italian words were created (such "calcio" instead of "football", or "consociazione" instead of "club").

    (from Wikipedia)

    Some of the words just sound weird, for example ghiacciaia instead of freezer. But the weirdest ever was mescita instead of bar: as bilby said on one of my lists, the word is "highly integrated", and it was already at the time. So there was a clumsy attempt to pass it off as an acronym for Bevande Alcoliche Rivendita ("Wines and Spirits Retail Outlet").

    July 9, 2008

  • Great citation Pro. The last bit reminds me of similar processes at work in Indonesia under Soeharto. The General was very much a control freak, and very peeved at the way foreign expressions would just creep in. So like all good dictators he had a committee of bureaucrats hard at work trying to Indonesianise borrowings. Some of the results were just funny. kandidat candidate was replaced with admittedly more Indonesian calon, although the latter is typically associated with prospective marriage suitors! ATMs were by then cropping up all over the big cities. The government linguists worked out that ATM must therefore be Anjungan Tunai Mandiri independent cash platform. It kind of works, although the idea behind it is wacky. At best I can pass it off as state-sponsored mnemonics.

    July 9, 2008

  • Zincali Stone.

    'Bar lachi', loadstone.

    'Bares del mol', 'The rocks of the wine'.

    July 22, 2008

  • "The unit of pricing was known as a bar, which was initially a measured piece of iron and later, after inflation, an imaginary unit. A length of cloth was said to be worth so many bars, and a gun another number. Prices rose steadily over time so that in the century from 1690 to 1790 the quantity of goods a slave would buy for a chief increased fivefold.

    'At a particular period, a slave might be fifty bars,' said Joe. 'When the Africans came to sell the slaves, they wanted, of course, fifty bars for the slave, but not in just one item. They would want so many bars of cloth, and so many bars of firearms, and so many bars of liquor. It was the assortment they were after. A slave-trading operation that didn't have hte proper assortment of goods wouldn't do much business.'"

    —Edward Ball, Slaves in the Family (NY: Ballantine Books, 1998), 429

    See also dash.

    October 13, 2009

  • fascinated with words of many meanings (for another great one check out 'put')

    BAR 1  bahr noun, verb, preposition



    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, esp. 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: I-bar.


    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.


    bride 2 (def. 1).


    Heraldry. a horizontal band, narrower than a fess, that crosses the field of an escutcheon.


    Obsolete. a gateway capable of being barred.

    –verb (used with object)


    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, 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.

    November 9, 2009