Definitions

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

  • noun A large cylindrical container, usually made of staves bound together with hoops, with a flat top and bottom of equal diameter.
  • noun The quantity that a barrel with a given or standard capacity will hold.
  • noun Any of various units of volume or capacity. In the US Customary System it varies, as a liquid measure, from 31 to 42 gallons (117 to 159 liters) as established by law or usage.
  • noun A cylindrical or hollow part, especially.
  • noun The thicker portion of a baseball bat, from which the most powerful hits are struck.
  • noun The cylindrical part of a firearm through which the bullet travels.
  • noun A cylinder that contains a movable piston.
  • noun The drum of a capstan.
  • noun The cylinder within the mechanism of a timepiece that contains the mainspring.
  • noun The trunk of a quadruped animal, such as a horse or cow.
  • noun The tubular space inside a wave when it is breaking.
  • noun Informal A large quantity.
  • noun Slang An act or instance of moving rapidly, often recklessly, in a motor vehicle.
  • adjective Resembling or similar to a barrel, as in shape.
  • intransitive verb To put or pack in a barrel.
  • intransitive verb To move or progress rapidly.
  • idiom (barrel/barrelhead) Granting, giving, or requesting no credit.
  • idiom (over a barrel) In a very awkward position from which extrication is difficult.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To put or pack in a barrel or barrels: as, to barrel beef, pork, or fish.
  • noun In mining, a vessel by which water is lifted by engine or windlass from a sinking-shaft.
  • noun A vessel or cask of a cylindrical form, generally bulging in the middle, usually made of wooden staves bound together with hoops, and having flat parallel heads.
  • noun As a measure of capacity, the quantity of anything, liquid or solid, which a barrel should contain.
  • noun The contents of a barrel: sometimes, like bottle, used to signify intoxicating drink.
  • noun The money (especially when the sum is large) supplied by a candidate in a political campaign, for campaign expenses, but especially for corrupt purposes: hence, a barrel campaign is one in which money is lavishly employed to bribe voters: in this sense often written and pronounced bar'l (bärl), in humorous imitation of vulgar speech.
  • noun Anything resembling a barrel; a drum or cylinder.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To put or to pack in a barrel or barrels.
  • noun A round vessel or cask, of greater length than breadth, and bulging in the middle, made of staves bound with hoops, and having flat ends or heads. Sometimes applied to a similar cylindrical container made of metal, usually called a drum.
  • noun The quantity which constitutes a full barrel. This varies for different articles and also in different places for the same article, being regulated by custom or by law. A barrel of wine is 311/2 gallons; a barrel of flour is 196 pounds.
  • noun A solid drum, or a hollow cylinder or case.
  • noun A metallic tube, as of a gun, from which a projectile is discharged.
  • noun obsolete A jar.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The hollow basal part of a feather.
  • noun (Com.) a measure equal to five cubic feet, used in estimating capacity, as of a vessel for freight.
  • noun (Arch.) a drain in the form of a cylindrical tube.
  • noun the cylindrical part of a boiler, containing the flues.
  • noun (Anat.) the tympanum, or tympanic cavity.
  • noun an instrument for producing music by the action of a revolving cylinder.
  • noun See under Vault.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable A round vessel or cask, of greater length than breadth, and bulging in the middle, made of staves bound with hoops, and having flat ends or heads. Sometimes applied to a similar cylindrical container made of metal, usually called a drum.
  • noun The quantity which constitutes a full barrel. This varies for different articles and also in different places for the same article, being regulated by custom or by law. A barrel of wine is 31 1/2 gallons; a barrel of flour is 196 pounds; of beer 31 gallons; of ale 32 gallons; of crude oil 42 gallons.
  • noun A solid drum, or a hollow cylinder or case;
  • noun A metallic tube, as of a gun, from which a projectile is discharged.
  • noun archaic A tube.
  • noun zoology The hollow basal part of a feather.
  • noun music The part of a clarinet which connects the mouthpiece and upper joint, and looks rather like a barrel (1).
  • noun surfing A wave that breaks with a hollow compartment.
  • noun US A waste receptacle.
  • noun The ribs and belly of a horse or pony.
  • verb transitive To put or to pack in a barrel or barrels.
  • verb intransitive To move quickly or in an uncontrolled manner.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English barel, from Old French baril.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English barrell, from Anglo-Norman baril, Old French baril, bareil ("barrel"), of uncertain origin. An attempt to link baril to Old French barre ("bar, bolt") (compare Medieval Latin barra ("bar, rod")) via assumed Vulgar Latin *barrīculum meets the phonological requirement, but fails to connect the word semantically. The alternate connection to Frankish *baril, *beril or Gothic 𐌱𐌴𐍂𐌹𐌻𐍃 (berils, "container for transport"), from Proto-Germanic *barilaz (“barrel, jug, container”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-, *bʰrē- (“to carry, transport”), is more plausible as it connects not only the form of the word but also the sense. Compare also Old High German biril ("jug, large pot"), Luxembourgish Bärel, Bierel ("jug, pot"), Old Norse berill ("barrel for liquids"), Old English byrla ("barrel of a horse, trunk, body"). More at bear.

Examples

Comments

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  • Roll it out.

    September 27, 2007

  • "A unit of measurement used by brewers in some countries. In Britain, a barrel holds 36 imperial gallons (One imperial gallon equals 4.5 liters), or 1.63 hectoliters. In the United States, a barrel holds 31.5 US gallons (One US gallon = 3.8 liters), or 1.17 hectoliters."

    - Beer Glossary

    October 7, 2007

  • vb, to move quickly or recklessly in a linear fashion.

    November 22, 2007

  • Used in the Boston area to refer to a trash can.

    October 15, 2008

  • "For Howard, power comes not from the barrel of a gun, as Mao Zedong liked to say, but from a barrel of pork. With a budget surplus of $17.3 billion to splash around in an election year, nothing is too difficult. Or too extravagant."

    - Mike Carlton, 'Big words from the big man of pork barrels, smh.com.au, 25 Aug 2007.

    October 28, 2008