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

  • n. One of the slender, whiskerlike tactile organs extending from the head of certain fishes, such as catfishes. Also called barb1.
  • n. Any of several Old World freshwater fish of the genus Barbus, especially B. barbus, having four barbels on its upper jaw.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A freshwater fish of the genus Barbus.
  • n. Whisker-like sensory organs, located around the mouth of certain fish, including catfish, carp, goatfish, sturgeon, and some types of shark.
  • n. A barb or pap under the tongues of horses and cattle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A slender tactile organ on the lips of certain fishes.
  • n. A large fresh-water fish (Barbus vulgaris) found in many European rivers. Its upper jaw is furnished with four barbels.
  • n. Barbs or paps under the tongues of horses and cattle. See 1st Barb, 3.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The common English name of the fish Barbus vulgaris, also extended to other species of the genus Barbus.
  • n. A small cylindrical vermiform process appended to the mouth of certain fishes, serving as an organ of touch.
  • n. A knot of superfluous flesh growing in the channel of a horse's mouth. Also barble and barb.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. slender tactile process on the jaws of a fish


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

Obsolete French, from Old French, from Medieval Latin barbula, diminutive of Late Latin barbus, beard, from Latin barba.
Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin *barbellus, diminutive of barbus, from Latin barba, beard; see barbel1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French barbel.


  • It lacks teeth, lacks the chin barbel, has a non-functional gut, and is dark brown rather than black.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • The female sports small eyes, a chin barbel, and long fang-like teeth, which are used for catching its primary food item - other fishes.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • A useful aid to hygiene is keeping a few predacious fish, such as barbel (Clarias spp.), in each pool to clean up scraps of uneaten food.

    Chapter 7

  • After varying my trek-ox rations by catching a kind of barbel with a worm in the yellow Klip, I went again to Observation Hill, and with the greater interest because every one was saying two of the Boer camps were in flames.

    Ladysmith The Diary of a Siege

  • It will benefit species such as barbel, chub and dace in particular.


  • Fishing for chub and barbel on London's river Wandle may have been the perfect way to pass a gloomy bank holiday weekend, while fans of salmon could have headed to the Dee and the Taff in Wales, which once ran black with coal.

    Rivers the healthiest in a generation due to stricter pollution controls

  • In the era of Bad Manners you two set an example of direct reporting and you both have no problem appearing caring and genuine because you are. barbel

    Evening Buzz: John Edwards’ Love Child?

  • Traditionally, the best masquf was made from barbel, a carp-like fish that Iraqis have been eating since the ancient Mesopotamian days.

    Day of Honey

  • Thirty-nine species of fish have been recorded from the waters below the falls, including butter barbel Schilbe mystus, eastern bottlenose Mormyrus longirostris, chessa Distichodus schenga, nkupe Distichodus mossambicus, and eighty-four from the waters above the falls, including African mottled eel Platystacus cotylephorus, tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus, Kafue pike Hepsetus odue and silver barbel Schilbe intermedius and several species of bream.

    Mosi-oa-Tunya Victoria Falls, Zambia

  • Under the cover of dominant trees are shrubs such as Hippophae rhamnoides, barbel (Berberis spp.), briar roses (Rosa spp.), honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.), and Cotoneaster spp ..

    Central Asian riparian woodlands


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  • "He had two deep folds in his cheeks running from his nostrils past his mouth and the long tuft of black beard on his chin was tied into three little tails like the barbels of a cranky hornpout."

    The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham, p 141

    January 9, 2017

  • I saw two unpromising, quick barbel chase each other upstream from bank to bank, as we solemnly arranged our hooks and sinkers.

    --Sarah Orne Jewett, 1899, A Dunnet Shepherdess

    January 28, 2010