Barrel Definition

barreled, barreling, barrelled, barrelling, barrels
A large cylindrical container, usually made of staves bound together with hoops, with a flat top and bottom of equal diameter.
American Heritage
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
The quantity that a barrel with a given or standard capacity will hold.
American Heritage
Any similarly shaped container made as of steel.
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
Resembling or similar to a barrel, as in shape.
A barrel chest; barrel hips.
American Heritage Medicine
barreled, barreling, barrelled, barrelling, barrels
To put or pack in a barrel.
American Heritage
To put or pack in a barrel or barrels.
Webster's New World
To go at high speed.
Webster's New World
To move or progress rapidly.
American Heritage
To put or to pack in a barrel or barrels.
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



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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