Barrel Definition

bărəl
barreled, barreling, barrelled, barrelling, barrels
noun
barrels
A large, wooden, cylindrical container with flat, circular ends and sides that bulge outward, made usually of staves bound together with hoops.
Webster's New World
Any similarly shaped container made as of steel.
Webster's New World
The capacity or contents of a barrel.
Webster's New World
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.
American Heritage
A unit of measure: in the U.S., 3112 gal, but for petroleum, 42 gal and for fermented beverages, 31 gal; in Gr. Brit., 36 imperial gal; in dry measure, various amounts, as 196 lb of flour, 200 lb of pork or fish, etc.
Webster's New World
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adjective
Resembling or similar to a barrel, as in shape.
A barrel chest; barrel hips.
American Heritage Medicine
verb
barreled, barreling, barrelled, barrelling, barrels
To go at high speed.
Webster's New World
To put or pack in a barrel or barrels.
Webster's New World
To move or progress rapidly.
American Heritage
Barrel means to move very quickly and often in a dangerous way.
An example of barrel is a car that is rolling down a hill with brakes that don't work.
YourDictionary
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idiom
on the barrel
  • Granting, giving, or requesting no credit:

    paid cash on the barrel for the car.

American Heritage
over a barrel
  • In a very awkward position from which extrication is difficult:

    During the negotiations the opposing faction had us over a barrel.

American Heritage
have someone over a barrel
  • to have someone completely at one's mercy, esp. financially
Webster's New World

Other Word Forms of Barrel

Noun

Singular:
barrel
Plural:
barrels

Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Barrel

Origin of Barrel

  • 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 (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; equivalent to bear +‎ -le. 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.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English barel from Old French baril

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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