Main definitions of bar in English

: bar1bar2



  • 1A long rigid piece of wood, metal, or similar material, typically used as an obstruction, fastening, or weapon.

    ‘an iron bar’
    ‘bars on the windows’
    • ‘On each side of me from floor to ceiling were wrought iron metal bars.’
    • ‘She was hustled into a police vehicle with bars on the windows.’
    • ‘Homes and shops in Thailand most usually have iron gates and bars welded over the windows.’
    • ‘Countryside Alliance spokeswoman Liz Mort said four hunt supporters were attacked with weapons including wooden bars and three were taken to hospital.’
    • ‘The outside walls of the building now gleam white and the decorative wrought iron bars on the windows are a clean, pale blue.’
    • ‘They tore metal window bars off the front of Parnella House and were smashing the bus shelter with them.’
    • ‘The council is now renewing its security measures and thinking of placing metal bars across all windows, replacing the alarm system and upgrading its CCTV.’
    • ‘Police recovered a collection of weapons including steel bars, hammers and clubs, as well as a Vauxhall car.’
    • ‘There were iron bars on the windows and a heavy padlock on the door to prevent looting.’
    • ‘A woman had a lucky escape on Thursday morning after metal reinforcement bars crashed through her car windscreen.’
    • ‘Initially, these were very large weapons made of iron bars held together by iron rings.’
    • ‘The attackers then jumped out of their cars and assaulted the two men with weapons believed to include baseball bats and iron bars.’
    • ‘The burglars cut through metal bars on a window at the rear of the store.’
    • ‘‘I have had iron bars, lumps of wood, bottles, stones and even on old bath thrown into my garden,’ she added.’
    • ‘The door was tall wood with metal bars supporting it.’
    • ‘A gang of youths terrified bus passengers in Leeds last night after going on the rampage with weapons including an iron bar and a bat.’
    • ‘One of the downstairs windows has metal bars across it.’
    • ‘The one small window had iron bars surrounding it.’
    • ‘Most seniors I know live with iron grilles and bars, locked windows and doors.’
    • ‘Through the iron bars of a big window we can see well-dressed Cubans dancing on the sidewalk.’
    rod, pole, stake, stick, batten, shaft, shank, rail, pale, paling, spar, strut, support, prop, spoke, crosspiece, girder, beam, boom
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An amount of food or another substance formed into a narrow block.
      ‘a bar of chocolate’
      ‘gold bars’
      • ‘One young man had his life dramatically changed by the tour as he entered the vegan lifestyle, departing from a life of meat, chocolate bars, and fast food.’
      • ‘Dessert is frozen juice and ice cream bars with chocolate chip cookies.’
      • ‘At home I made strong coffee and had it with a half a bar of white chocolate but neither revived me.’
      • ‘He picked up a bar of gold in his hands and, turning it over, discovered a tiny crown chiseled into one of the corners.’
      • ‘A teenager from Westbury got more than he bargained for when he bit into a chocolate bar to find a piece of metal embedded in it.’
      • ‘We turn to hamburgers, sausage pizza, french fries, candy bars and other foods high in fat, sugar and calories.’
      • ‘Prepare a colorful fruit salad as an alternative to candy bars and other junk food.’
      • ‘When you buy a newspaper or a bar of chocolate, tell the shop assistant you don't need a bag.’
      • ‘We reached the first summit for lunch of a bar of chocolate and a sesame bar or dried fruit.’
      • ‘I was told to go and get something to eat even if only a bar of chocolate or crisps.’
      • ‘He bought an orange and a bar of chocolate, and glanced over a newspaper.’
      • ‘The vast majority did have at least one piece of fruit, usually an apple or a banana, but most lunch boxes also contained a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps.’
      • ‘You remove it from its confines and caress and touch it as if it's a bar of gold.’
      • ‘Blokes shouldn't need shower gel - a bar of soap does the trick.’
      • ‘I couldn't believe the amount of things she was given - not just cans of drink, or beer, and lots of food and candy bars but also, for example, a pot plant.’
      • ‘Someone gave me a bar of chocolate today, and it feels like I've eaten about fifteen bars of chocolate in one go.’
      • ‘He buys Beth a present every day, even if it is just a bar of chocolate.’
      • ‘Included in the package are a bar of soap, a toner and a moisturizer.’
      • ‘The only items his wife has been allowed to give him on her visits have been a bar of soap, toothpaste, petroleum jelly and six apples.’
      • ‘Over 60 mums attended and were also given a presentation on the history of Mothers' Day and a bar of chocolate by year six children.’
      block, slab, cake, tablet, brick, loaf, wedge, lump, chunk, hunk, cube, ingot, nugget, piece
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    2. 1.2 A band of colour or light.
      ‘bars of sunlight shafting through the windows’
      • ‘After a green bar of light read his print, he pressed a sequence of buttons to the left.’
      • ‘He looked through the gap between the door and the wall, a small bar of light illuminating his frightened features.’
      • ‘He pulled on the headlights, and the beams cut into the darkness, solid bars of light in the smoke-filled air.’
      • ‘His monumental canvases, with their interlocking bars of earthy colour, reflect his early life as well as later influences.’
      • ‘I look at the bars of light coming in through the blind.’
    3. 1.3British The heating element of an electric fire.
      • ‘It was a small room, but even so the single bar of the electric fire, glowing bright orange beside its pale neighbour, fought hard to take the chill away.’
      • ‘The boss, for instance, has a lovely one: bright orange, like the bar on an electric fire.’
      • ‘Mum had spent half an hour making toast for everybody, by sticking slices of bread on the end of a fork and holding them in front of the two bars on the electric fire.’
    4. 1.4the bar The crossbar of a goal.
      ‘Clark's shot hit the bar’
      • ‘But, for the briefest moment he hesitated, and Ashley Cole was able to turn his shot on to the bar.’
      • ‘They put up a magnificent second-half fight, hitting the bar once and seeing two efforts cleared off the line - but it was in vain.’
      • ‘Thorne scored his first goal on 21 minutes after his header had hit the bar, but he recovered well to force the ball home.’
      • ‘The first was a scorching right-foot volley that Given did well to tip over the bar.’
      • ‘We hit the bar twice and were close a couple of times and in the end we deserved to win.’
      • ‘Mick Midwood hit the bar with a chipped shot and Sheffield keeper Nicky Allen was in outstanding form.’
      • ‘The conditions were very difficult, with a swirling wind, and Joe Deane hit the bar when a goal would have settled us down.’
      • ‘Also on 50 mins Park finds himself with a sight of goal, but scoops it over the bar.’
      • ‘The Spanish captain was largely anonymous, and produced only one moment of magic when the defence stood off him and he floated a shot just over the bar.’
      • ‘They controlled most of the play and hit the bar, but a goal escaped them.’
      • ‘I scored a good goal, set up another and had a shot come off the bar.’
      • ‘His first attempt hit the bar but he leapt highest to score the rebound.’
      • ‘Mayers then saw a shot hit the bar only for Foster to squander another chance from the rebound.’
      • ‘Leeds' Richard Cresswell hit the bar with a penalty kick, before Parkin drove in his second to end Leeds' unbeaten home record.’
      • ‘Ronaldo subsequently steps up and whips the free-kick over the bar.’
      • ‘The attempt went over the bar and Bergkamp hit the deck but he was able to continue after treatment.’
      • ‘But the Chelsea keeper leaps high and long to his left to tip it over the bar.’
      • ‘His perfect header beat the keeper, bounced up, hit the bar and dribbled away to safety.’
      • ‘The former Celtic striker picked himself up, dusted himself down, took a deep breath and blazed his spot-kick over the bar.’
      • ‘He had a clear sight on goal but he pulled his shot over the bar.’
    5. 1.5British A metal strip below the clasp of a medal, awarded as an additional distinction.
      ‘he was awarded a second bar to his DSO’
      • ‘A bar to his military medal was awarded in July of the following year after he had been promoted to sergeant.’
      • ‘For his 36 years of service he received three bars alongside his long-service award.’
      • ‘Further awards of the same decoration were shown by a bar on the ribbon of the cross or medal.’
      • ‘He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the TD and bar.’
      • ‘He was awarded a bar to his gold medal for exceptional services.’
    6. 1.6 A sandbank or shoal at the mouth of a harbour or an estuary.
      ‘the bar to the estuary of the River Eske’
      • ‘In areas with episodic run-off, the whole plain may become, at periods of high discharge, part of the channel, with the deposition of a complex of shallow gravel and sand channels and bars.’
      • ‘That means thousands of boaters who rely on these multiple-use ports face the bleak prospect of shoaling channels and dangerous bars at river mouths.’
      • ‘Trout in particular spawn in the fall and can be found in deep water at this time. You can find them on bars, shoals, rocks and fingers.’
      • ‘If a tench wants to move from one side of a bar to the other it has two options.’
      • ‘Many of the rivers had bars at their mouths and navigation was hazardous: over the years a number of ships were lost as a result.’
      • ‘The host plant is an early successional, evergreen, nitrogen-fixing subshrub that grows on glacial moraine and river bars.’
      sandbank, shoal, bank, shallow, reef, ridge, ledge, shelf
      View synonyms
    7. 1.7Heraldry A charge in the form of a narrow horizontal stripe across the shield.
      • ‘It may be noted that a bar is never shown alone; there are always two or more.’
      • ‘The barrulet is the heraldic diminutive of the bar, and is generally one fourth the width of the bar.’
  • 2A counter in a pub, restaurant, or cafe across which drinks or refreshments are served.

    ‘standing at the bar’
    • ‘He was just sitting at the bar on a stool, in the next room, sipping his beer.’
    • ‘I bought Chris a drink and we stood at the bar talking for most of the night.’
    • ‘When you walk through the front door of the old stone church you enter the reception area which consists of a bar to the left and a cosy waiting area to the right.’
    • ‘On a recent Wednesday night the crowd was rowdy and stylish and clearly enjoying themselves at the bar at the front of the room.’
    • ‘Her joy turned to dismay as he walked round to the other side of the bar, served her drink, took her money and then served the next customer.’
    • ‘The tiny room was packed, with people standing at the bar and clustered around the pub tables nearby.’
    • ‘He reached below the bar and pulled out a blackboard on which were listed, as promised, the different types of stew.’
    • ‘The next room was a lounge, with a piano, couches, dark lights, a small bar, and a stereo.’
    • ‘After thanking the many sponsors and supporters of the Club Mr. Brennan declared the bars open.’
    • ‘I like to start casual dinner parties with an appetizer served at the bar facing our open kitchen.’
    • ‘And last night, he was at his regular pub, with his regular partner, standing in his regular place at the bar.’
    • ‘There was a dance floor right in the middle, a bar to the left and tons of tables all around.’
    • ‘I deliberately went and stood at the bar near by the group of girls on the other side of the pub, but they didn't even so much as look at me.’
    • ‘Sam reached under the bar, opened a bottle of Irish stout, and put it on the table.’
    • ‘He'll help with your bags, crack jokes, invite you to eat breakfast on his porch and - if things get busy - let you serve drinks at the bar.’
    • ‘Admission is by ticket only, either from behind the bar in advance or on the door on the day.’
    • ‘She insisted that she had agreed to come to St Lucia to serve drinks behind a bar, nothing else.’
    • ‘The barman himself had ducked below the bar at the first sign of trouble so that he would not know anything.’
    • ‘Chris Paling is standing at the bar in his London club, holding a cigarillo and a wine glass.’
    • ‘I stood at the bar and stared at the barman, willing him to come to me next.’
    counter, table, buffet, stand
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A room in a pub, restaurant, or hotel in which alcohol is served.
      ‘the oak-panelled bar of the Lion’
      as modifier ‘bar stools’
      • ‘The inn was a small, modest building, with a few rooms and a large bar and tavern underneath.’
      • ‘As she spoke, one woman walked through the bar with her cigarette lit as she moved from one doorway to another where her friends were while trying to stay out of the rain.’
      • ‘Within hours of the blaze she was able to open the main bar but has had to keep the rest of the pub closed.’
      • ‘And afterwards we had a drink in the restaurant bar at the back of the Royal Festival Hall.’
      • ‘While the zine fair is taking place in the hotel's bar and ballroom, rooms on the second floor will host a variety of projects.’
      • ‘Routinely described as a gourmet pub, it is really more of a restaurant with a small bar for pre-dinner drinks.’
      • ‘The gardens, fuelled by tropical drizzle, are immaculate, as is the cosy bar with fireplace, lit nightly at 6pm.’
      • ‘It's the cinema where I got very very drunk in the bar, and was barred from.’
      • ‘One imagines Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley lounging around hotel bars in tailored suits, discussing real estate and drum programming.’
      • ‘Downstairs is dominated by a slick bar, muted colours, mismatched furniture and a dark slate floor.’
      • ‘The rest of the hotel comprises a main bar, lounge, dining room, function room and main kitchen.’
      • ‘The Black & White Pub of the Year Awards seek to promote and recognise excellence within Ireland's premier pubs and hotel bars.’
      • ‘Away from hotel bars, hotel rooms and suburban shopping centres, the England squad are a well-behaved bunch and as such have made no lasting enemies on the pitch.’
      • ‘Now if we could just do something about the price of a martini at the hotel bar.’
      • ‘We arrived early, parked easily and were then invited to have a drink in the bar while our table was prepared.’
      • ‘They had promised to turn the Victorian building into a ‘first quality hotel’ with a bar and restaurant, he said.’
      • ‘The renovations will include an extra bar upstairs, mood lighting on the windows overlooking the river and pastel-themed decor.’
      • ‘The hotel will feature meeting rooms, a restaurant and lounge, hotel bar, function rooms and a leisure centre.’
      • ‘There is enough warmth in the hotel bar and lounge to keep Wick centrally heated for weeks, and anticipation is running high.’
      • ‘It will also feature a lobby lounge and bar, a pool bar and a night club.’
    2. 2.2 An establishment where alcohol and sometimes other refreshments are served.
      ‘a small friendly bar open all day’
      • ‘A number of bars have opened in recent years in the city as part of an initiative to introduce ‘European-style’ drinking.’
      • ‘Many bars opened, revitalising the city's nightlife.’
      • ‘At one time Wood Green had no bars of any sort and suddenly they got three - Yates, Chicago Rock Garden and Weatherspoons.’
      • ‘Your new alcohol policy would allow bars to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’
      • ‘And there are fears that the problem of drunken, yobbish behaviour will only get worse as licensing hours are extended and new bars opened.’
      • ‘There are many bars and night clubs, complete with music and dance.’
      • ‘People in Ireland have not stopped eating out or visiting bars because they can't smoke.’
      • ‘Its city centre is being re-built, with new shops, clubs and bars opening each week.’
      • ‘If you want to open a successful bar in Montreal, make it an authentic Irish pub.’
      • ‘Smoking was outlawed in bars, hotels and restaurants from 6am this morning to protect employees from being exposed to smoke in the workplace.’
      • ‘We then found an Irish bar with a band playing, so the requests went in and, before long, the pub was reeling to the sound of The Fields Of Athenry and suchlike.’
      • ‘I locate the strip of city bars where I see a group of friends laugh raucously in a manner which I realized I hadn't witnessed since leaving London.’
      • ‘Music can be heard on every corner of the capital and nearly all the bars have their own bands.’
      • ‘About 10 minutes down the road from me, there's a complex of pubs, bars and clubs that stay open util 2am.’
      • ‘Over the last ten years Belfast has undergone some major cosmetic surgery and new pubs and bars have opened while existing ones have expanded.’
      • ‘But although some of the bars stayed open until 3am, the majority of pubs closed their doors at 1am as revellers headed off to the clubs.’
      • ‘How exactly will this law be enforced, and who will be liable if someone lights up in a bar?’
      • ‘But Beth added: ‘The bars staying open later is a good thing, because it's cheaper to stay there than go on to clubs.’’
      • ‘Three years ago you could go to many bars and listen to metal, rock, punk and hardcore music.’
      • ‘There's a busy nightlife in the area, with many bars and clubs open into the early hours.’
      hostelry, tavern, inn, wine bar, taproom
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3with modifier A small shop, stall, or area in a department store that serves refreshments or provides a specified service.
      ‘a sandwich bar’
      • ‘Since setting up her business in 1999, the founder of Nails Inc has opened 30 walk-in nail bars across the country.’
      • ‘About a year ago, Sambazon started importing this blend to the US and selling it to natural juice bars and health food stores.’
      • ‘The village has two new luxury hotels, an ice rink, shops, juice bar and an ice creamery.’
      • ‘Half of the first floor is occupied by an ice cream bar and a leisure area with orange furniture.’
      • ‘The owners of a pub and sandwich bar in the village both said they knew nothing about their refuse being deposited at the illegal dump.’
      • ‘Big book stores with latte bars often have live bands on weekend evenings and lecturers at various other times.’
      • ‘The space can be subdivided for use as a convenience store and coffee shop or a sandwich bar.’
      • ‘An Irish sandwich bar in Swindon has been named the best of its kind.’
      • ‘By creating your own itinerary, you avoid areas crammed with burger bars and British pubs and head for somewhere more authentic.’
      • ‘Live music, an organic café and juice bar, a play area and face painting make this a great day out for all the family.’
      • ‘The trendy lower downtown area has sushi bars, day spas and a shop that sells ultra-cool Vespa scooters.’
      • ‘He also plans to re-open the Parlour tea room, which is part of the complex, as a coffee and sandwich bar.’
      • ‘In clothes stores, sandwich bars, gyms and coffee shops we face a constant barrage of background music - music we notice but rarely listen to.’
      • ‘It is a very popular sandwich bar in the centre of Glasgow - we get a lot of customers from Scottish Television as their studios are very close by.’
      • ‘The manager of a Swindon sandwich bar is hoping to complete a trio of feats for charity when he does the New York Marathon.’
      • ‘Our city needs thriving locals far more than it needs another video shop or burger bar.’
      • ‘Keep your palate awake and you won't be slipping into your local sandwich bar or even the pub because your own BLT lacks a bit of oomph.’
      • ‘It's a fashionable noodle bar with prompt service and well-priced, tasty food.’
      • ‘The business team hopes to open two other sandwich bars in the Swindon area by 2006.’
      • ‘The latest addition to Glasgow's burgeoning noodle bar scene, Soba is without peer when it comes to slick decor and extremely snappy service.’
  • 3A barrier or restriction to an action or advance.

    ‘political differences are not necessarily a bar to a good relationship’
    • ‘In classical Athens, for an adult male to be passive was a bar to the exercise of citizenship.’
    • ‘He also insisted his privileged background would not act as a bar to winning over new Conservative supporters in Scotland.’
    • ‘The introduction of top-up fees in England was controversial because it was presented as a bar to access.’
    • ‘The immigration status of victims of crime should not act as a bar to the prosecution of criminal offences: yet of course, it does.’
    • ‘It was the first time the church's most senior cleric had said that the sexuality of ministers should not act as a bar to their appointment.’
    • ‘This of course need not be a bar to success in life.’
    • ‘In no other walk of life, it seems, would someone's sexual orientation be considered a bar to holding high office.’
    • ‘The great wrong about them is that they are a bar to all chance of science and of progress in cookery.’
    • ‘Age is no longer a bar to indulge in accessories, be it bags or jewellery.’
    • ‘The trust's acquisition of the buildings would not be a bar to such moves, as the organisation frequently has tenants in its buildings.’
    • ‘It's a bar to entry to many people whose academic merit may well be greater than those who can afford access.’
    • ‘The formal listing of these buildings should not necessarily be a bar to all future change, the Trust says.’
    • ‘There is also a danger that, if too rigidly enforced, the existence of copyright could become a tool for censorship or a bar to the free circulation of ideas.’
    • ‘A failure by the Court to maintain a dynamic and evolutive approach would risk rendering it a bar to reform or improvement.’
    • ‘I have a piece on how technology can be a bar to democracy on National Review Online.’
    • ‘I asked Eric if he could speak Thai when he first came over and he admitted that he could not, but this was not a bar to business.’
    • ‘Age is the measure of our days, but why should it become a bar to work or a handicap?’
    • ‘All sides have acknowledged that the conflict is a bar to the humanitarian work needed to overcome the disaster.’
    • ‘In my view the incorporation of a local action group ought not to be a bar to the bringing of an application for judicial review.’
    • ‘The other concerns were not considered a bar to the plans which are recommended for approval.’
    obstacle, impediment, hindrance, obstruction, check, stop, block, hurdle, barrier, stumbling block, handicap, restriction, limitation
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Law A plea suspending an action or claim in a lawsuit.
      • ‘That benefits the lessee: it removes a possible bar to registration.’
      • ‘So there was an absolute bar on admission but the power to suspend or disbar is regarded as incidental to the power to admit.’
      • ‘But that is a practical problem which cannot constitute a legal bar on a claim.’
      • ‘This inhibition is to a large extent based on the Bill of Rights and the consequent bar to the impeachment of proceedings in Parliament.’
      • ‘The onus shifts to the Defendants to clearly establish that public policy should be a bar to recovery.’
      • ‘I do not say that is a bar to making the submission that Mr Bowen makes, but it is highly relevant.’
      • ‘Indeed, on those grounds she did not consider that sub-section was a bar to her proceedings.’
      • ‘Sometimes it is not treated as an absolute bar but as merely an important matter to be weighed on the balance of convenience.’
      • ‘That is, in effect, a total bar on an existing cause of action.’
      • ‘Immunity is not absolute or a total bar to proceedings.’
      • ‘Does the fraudulent misrepresentation bar Mr Halley's claim?’
      • ‘In that sense, section 10 constituted only a procedural bar to his claim.’
      • ‘In such a case the bar is absolute in relation to all points decided unless fraud or collusion is alleged, such as to justify setting aside the earlier judgment.’
      • ‘As with misrepresentation, certain bars operate to prevent rescission.’
      • ‘The plaintiff was advised of the statutory bar to his claim by letter in October 2001, but proceeded anyway.’
      • ‘At all events he thought the chance of it doing so was sufficiently small that, set against other factors it should not act as a bar to striking out the proceedings.’
      • ‘A judgment against one is not a bar to a subsequent action against the others.’
      • ‘While this obviously is not a bar to proceeding again, it is certainly an additional impediment.’
      • ‘His Lordship seems to be saying that settlement can be a bar.’
      • ‘If such parties are jointly liable, a judgment against one of them is a bar to proceedings against the others even whilst it is unsatisfied.’
  • 4Music
    Any of the short sections or measures, typically of equal time value, into which a piece of music is divided, shown on a score by vertical lines across the stave.

    ‘the opening bars of the first hymn’
    • ‘They may ask you to do a ‘freestyle’ at the end, which is where you showcase your best dance moves to a few bars of music.’
    • ‘Sometimes, you know you are hearing a masterpiece after only a few bars of music waft through your headphones.’
    • ‘I've seen bands spend a day on a couple of bars of a bass line, making a loop.’
    • ‘Every DJ is putting one out and it's not hard to mix a few records together: if you can count 16 bars of music you can probably figure it out.’
    • ‘From the opening bars, I was hooked not only on the piece, but on the composer - to me, a major voice.’
    • ‘Only the bass line and six bars of melody had survived, possibly from the slow movement of a Trio Sonata.’
    • ‘It is only eight bars of music, and I've lost count of the number of times it must have been played over the last 44 years.’
    • ‘Placing my hands over the white ivory and black keys, I began to play the first few bars of music.’
    • ‘The first few bars of music rang out around the auditorium.’
    • ‘After a few bars, the music and her concentration were interrupted by the ringing telephone.’
    • ‘Finally, when her instrument was in tune, she gave Darcy the signal, and he played the opening bars of the sonata.’
    • ‘It's one of those pieces that grab you from the opening bars.’
    • ‘He magically evoked the Alpine mystery of the score's opening bars.’
    • ‘When the last bars of the music had died away, he shouted, ‘Sing that again!’’
    • ‘Musically, I have to say that the performance was quite thrilling, right from the opening bars of the overture.’
    • ‘Its precise consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel structure divides the words into syllables as regular as bars in music.’
    • ‘Behind him came a low laugh, then a few bars of tinkling music that cut off with a tinny snap.’
    • ‘The violinist plays the opening bars of a Mozart sonata, and the unaccustomed cadences and harmonies of classical western melody are like strange birdsong.’
    • ‘This may sound like the opening bars of a folk song, but it's true.’
    • ‘She nodded and listened to the first few bars of music before beginning to sing.’
  • 5the barA partition in a court room, now usually notional, beyond which most people may not pass and at which an accused person stands.

    ‘the prisoner at the bar’
    • ‘The lawyers sit at the bar table facing the magistrate and the defendant sits with his or her lawyer.’
    • ‘In an unprecedented move Magistrate Nicholas got up from the bench and sat at the bar table with the witness and the accused.’
    • ‘The defendant at the bar stands indicted by the grand jury of this county with the crime of murder in the first degree.’
    • ‘His handling of the funds when they did arrive gave rise to vigorous debate at the bar.’
    • ‘And far be it from any court to acknowledge that the defendant standing at the bar has any constitutional rights.’
    1. 5.1British A rail marking the end of each chamber in the Houses of Parliament.
      ‘he had to appear at the Bar of the House for a reprimand by the Speaker’
      • ‘At the other end of the chamber is the bar, at which the members of the Commons attend to hear the speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament.’
      • ‘If agreed, a member is ordered by the House to go to the bar of the House of Lords.’
      • ‘An inscription on the wall towards the west end shows the position of the Bar of the old House, by which the Lobby was marked off from the Chamber itself.’
  • 6The profession of barrister.

    ‘his dismissal from the Singapore Bar’
    • ‘The young barrister, only at the bar nine months, then attempted to cross-examine this key prosecution witness.’
    • ‘He didn't like the law and was never called to the Bar.’
    • ‘The same year he would be called to the bar and later established a small practice in Montreal.’
    • ‘The plaintiff has recently been called to the bar in Ontario.’
    • ‘He was a Junior Counsel in 1968, Senior Counsel in 1982, and was called to the English Bar in 1981.’
    1. 6.1British Barristers collectively.
      • ‘The senior judges in England and Wales are drawn almost exclusively from the Bar.’
      • ‘The Bar Council provides representation and services for the Bar, and guidance on issues of professional practice.’
      barristers, advocates, counsel
      View synonyms
    2. 6.2North American Lawyers collectively.
    3. 6.3 A particular court of law.
      • ‘He was admitted to the Bar of Western Australia at the Supreme Court in Perth on November 2.’


[with object]
  • 1Fasten (something, especially a door or window) with a bar or bars.

    ‘she bolted and barred the door’
    • ‘I listened until her retreating footsteps told me she was gone, and then got up to bar the door.’
    • ‘The doors had been barred shut, then pried open, allowing us to slip inside.’
    • ‘She barred the great door, and taking her daughter's hand, she began to run back through the rooms, with the maid following after in a panic.’
    • ‘He and his roommate saw her coming and barred the door.’
    • ‘They had climbed its walls, and barred its doors.’
    • ‘Within 20 minutes, a SWAT team in dark-blue body armor had stormed in, barred the doors, and duct-taped the vents.’
    • ‘The window that was barred shut at the end of the hall was no barricade for Christine.’
    • ‘We quickly shut and barred the two doors and the window, and dispatched the three hornets that followed us in.’
    • ‘She locked and barred the kitchen door that led to the rest of the house.’
    • ‘The captain barred both her door and porthole.’
    • ‘The rest of you will remain here, bar the doors and windows, and afterwards stay well away from the windows.’
    • ‘After they were led into the building, the door was barred by armed police who said proceedings before a judge were taking place behind closed doors.’
    • ‘As soon as they were all out of the cabin she barred the door and would not let them in any more.’
    • ‘With a ripple of his deep red sleeve, one of the guards took both her arms, while the other barred the door, allowing Allie to be tied without the ability of escape.’
    • ‘Their faces registered curiosity and a tinge of alarm as guards leaped to bar the massive doors at the main entrance.’
    • ‘I wish I could have barred that door, nailed it shut somehow.’
    • ‘Just as quickly, she shut and barred the door.’
    • ‘They herded them into a vast empty barn and barred the doors shut.’
    • ‘They were crying and frightened and shaking; hurriedly, she barred the door and he covered all the windows.’
    • ‘The people around were crying their approval, and one of them ran up to the front door and, using his sign, barred the door so that they couldn't escape.’
    bolt, lock, fasten, padlock, secure, latch, deadlock, block, barricade, obstruct
    View synonyms
  • 2Prevent or prohibit (someone) from doing something or from going somewhere.

    ‘journalists had been barred from covering the elections’
    • ‘A father was barred from his own home and separated from his family for six months after he was spotted smacking his young son during a shopping trip.’
    • ‘The hospital's front gate was closed and a sign said patients and employees were barred from leaving and no items used in the building could be removed.’
    • ‘He spoke out after two frail and elderly patients were left alone and distressed waiting hours for ambulances to take them home after their wives were barred from travelling with them.’
    • ‘He was barred from America last year on ‘security grounds’, although he has never had any links to terrorism.’
    • ‘As a result he was barred from taking part in the first free practice session on Friday.’
    • ‘Local Democracy week has been branded a sham by Tory councillors after their deputy leader was barred from speaking at a high-level meeting.’
    • ‘Some people have still memories of the 1980s when people were barred from universities merely for not going to Friday prayers regularly.’
    • ‘Visitors were barred from taking bags into the building, metal detectors were installed and police carrying machine guns patrolled the foyer.’
    • ‘He was effectively barred from the US as officials there declared the case against him ‘pretty good’.’
    • ‘He was barred from entering the mainland in April 2001 but was recently informed that the ban had been lifted.’
    • ‘Railway passengers are barred from setting foot on the mountainside and walkers who have reached the summit will be denied access to the visitor centre.’
    • ‘Another measure to limit consumption was a return to the ‘carless’ days of the late 1970s when one day a week a vehicle owner was barred from using his or her car.’
    • ‘He was barred from practising by the General Medical Council in July 2000 after 34 out of 35 allegations against him were proven.’
    • ‘She studied languages in Dublin, where she was barred from the student union bar for unspecified ‘bad behaviour’.’
    • ‘He was barred from school after teachers ruled his hairstyle ‘extreme and unacceptable’.’
    • ‘The 1986 World Cup hero was barred from leaving Argentina after family members blocked his early efforts to return to Cuba.’
    • ‘In 1995, he was barred from treating patients in an exclusive hospital in Jakarta for helping HIV positive people.’
    • ‘He was barred from returning home for weeks and allowed to meet his wife only in September.’
    • ‘He was initially barred from enrolling for a degree in computer science at the University of Maryland due to a technicality, but managed to sign up and complete the course.’
    • ‘Complaints that election agents were barred from some polling stations at the end of the election have caused concern within the commission.’
    prohibit, debar, preclude, forbid, ban, interdict, inhibit
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Forbid someone from undertaking (an activity)
      ‘the job she loved had been barred to her’
      • ‘There is now hardly any sphere of activity legally barred to women and, in this sense, every male bastion has been stormed.’
      • ‘He does not smoke, drink or take drugs, so those recourses would have been barred to him.’
      • ‘The professions remained barred to women, but a few succeeded in practising as doctors.’
      • ‘We just cannot stop modernism from seeping up between the floorboards, so a return to a premodern reading of the Bible is barred to us now.’
      • ‘So it can come as a shock to discover that some of these activities can be barred to them as the years slip by.’
    2. 2.2 Exclude (something) from consideration.
      ‘nothing is barred in the crime novel’
      • ‘In 1984 Congress undercut the exclusionary rule which barred evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.’
      • ‘These issues are barred from consideration by this Court.’
      • ‘Nothing is barred from consideration as long as it does not obtrude into the lives of others.’
    3. 2.3Law Prevent or delay (an action) by objection.
      • ‘If I were wrong in my conclusion that on the principal claims Mr Shaker had no cause of action, the proceedings would still be barred on the basis that the damages were purely reflective of the company's loss.’
      • ‘In any event, any new claim by the company would be barred by limitation as it is well over six years since the events giving rise to any claim.’
      • ‘The law also sometimes holds that certain types of claim should be barred as contrary to public policy.’
      • ‘An action to enforce the award had become barred by limitation by January 1993.’
      • ‘For one thing, if she waits, her claim might end up being barred by the statute of limitations.’
  • 3Mark (something) with bars or stripes.

    ‘his face was barred with light’
    • ‘Its back is speckled with light markings, and its tail is barred with black.’
    • ‘The backs and wings of females are finely barred with light and dark brown.’
    • ‘Their faces were barred with stripes of charcoal and ochre.’
    • ‘The upperparts are brown with a black patch streaked with white, and the tail is barred with black.’


  • 1Except for.

    ‘his kids were all gone now, bar one’
    • ‘‘Well that would be nice,’ he replies, enigmatic bar the faint hint of a smile.’
    • ‘Every party on the select committee, bar the Labour Party, opposed the bill.’
    • ‘This makes him the most important coach in Scottish rugby bar one.’
    • ‘He was the youngest parliamentary candidate in the general election bar one.’
    • ‘Here, on just four walls, is as good a cross-section of post-war figurative art as you are ever likely to see in any gallery bar the Tate.’
    • ‘His comments about our break-in a few days ago are true in all ways bar one.’
    • ‘He has started every league game bar one.’
    • ‘He is due to retire at the end of this year, and all parties bar Labour are courting him.’
    • ‘The Trust has funded these activities for all of these past ten years, bar one.’
    • ‘The home side were far ahead of their high-flying opponents in every match statistic bar one.’
    • ‘The Premiership is in danger of becoming as boring as its Scottish equivalent where this year has been the same as the last dozen bar one.’
    • ‘This is bar a handful of Indian companies that are listed on the US market and shares that have been picked by a specialist fund manager.’
    • ‘Argue the point all you want, but virtually every modern car, bar the hardest sports models, have understeer dialled in to safeguard the occupants.’
    except, except for, apart from, but, but for, other than, besides, aside from, with the exception of, short of, barring, excepting, excluding, omitting, leaving out, save, save for, saving
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Horse racing Except the horses indicated (used when stating the odds).


  • bar none

    • With no exceptions.

      ‘the greatest living American poet bar none’
      • ‘He said: ‘We know we are fighting against a multi-billion pound industry, the biggest industry in the world bar none, but we have to keep believing.’’
      • ‘He was the greatest player I ever played with, in any position, bar none.’
      • ‘It appeared in this paper the following week and I think now, as I thought then, that it was one of the finest photographs of the year, bar none.’
      • ‘He said it was the best album he's ever heard in his life bar none.’
      • ‘We've got the worst streets in Canada, bar none.’
      • ‘As of right now, this is the album of the year, bar none.’
      • ‘In Scotland we have the best golf destinations in the world bar none and all supported by excellent infrastructure and service, something Ireland cannot always offer.’
      • ‘At the moment he's the team's most consistent performer, bar none.’
      • ‘As far as Jim was concerned, he was the greatest player in the world, bar none.’
      • ‘These small rainswept isles off the western end of the vast Eurasian landmass have contributed far more to the well-being of the rest of humanity than any other country, bar none.’
  • be called (or go) to the Bar

    • Be admitted as a barrister.

      • ‘During this time he also studied law and was called to the Bar in 1925.’
      • ‘He had studied at the Middle Temple from 1595, was called to the Bar in 1600, and continued to keep chambers in London.’
      • ‘In 1876 he became a barrister when he was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple.’
      • ‘He was called to the Bar in 1958 after two years in the Royal Navy, where he was an able seaman, and a period as a factory inspector.’
      • ‘He studied law and was called to the Bar in 1774, becoming a judge of the high court in Calcutta in 1783.’
      • ‘He was called to the Bar in 1971 and became a Queen's Counsel in 1991.’
      • ‘He was called to the Bar in 1974 and is a recognized authority in Civil Litigation and Appellate Advocacy.’
      • ‘From there she went to Inns of Court School of Law and was called to the Bar in October 1998 to the Honorable Society of Inn Temple.’
      • ‘A Bradford solicitor has been called to the Bar after more than 30 years in the legal profession.’
      • ‘He studied law at Oxford and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1965.’
  • be called within the Bar

    • Be appointed a Queen's Counsel.

      • ‘His business gradually increased, and having received a patent of precedence, he was on the 2nd of November 1872 called within the bar as a queen's counsel.’
      • ‘In the year 1586, he applied to the lord treasurer to be called within the bar.’
  • behind bars

    • In prison.

      ‘he had already spent four months behind bars on remand’
      • ‘A man was back behind bars only four days after he was released from prison.’
      • ‘He is notorious not for his crimes outside prison, but because of his outrageous behaviour behind bars.’
      • ‘He was sentenced to life behind bars for her murder in June this year.’
      • ‘The judge decided not to send him to jail after hearing he had already served two months behind bars.’
      • ‘If you speak out, you can provide the evidence that the police need to put criminals behind bars.’
      • ‘Several former inmates also returned to discuss their experience behind bars.’
      • ‘It should not be the rule of the thumb that any offender has to end up behind bars, whether in a police cell or prison.’
      • ‘A rapist who went missing after he was released from prison on licence was back behind bars last night.’
      • ‘He speaks about his life of crime, his wasted years behind bars and his hopes for the future.’
      • ‘Seventy per cent of prisoners are back behind bars within two years of release.’
  • lower (or raise or lift) the bar

    • Lower (or raise) the standards which need to be met in order to qualify for something.

      ‘the restaurant raised the bar for contemporary Scottish cuisine in the capital’
      • ‘The bill does not lower the bar.’
      • ‘He insisted that the interpretation that this would ultimately lower the bar was not quite accurate.’
      • ‘I think this speech tonight raised the bar for what was already a very significant Republican challenge.’
      • ‘So maybe lowering the bar is a good thing.’
      • ‘His running mate has just raised the bar.’
      • ‘Linkin Park have raised the bar high for hook laden pop metal.’
      • ‘However, with your latest project, you really are raising the bar.’
      • ‘We are confident that next year's rendition of the contest will raise the bar once again.’
      • ‘This year, the judges said that they raised the bar.’
      • ‘Ivan Fischer is the person, once a relationship is cultivated, to raise the bar.’
  • not have a bar of

    • informal Not tolerate (someone or something) any longer.

      ‘the referee's not having a bar of it’
      • ‘I am glad to know that average New Zealanders will not have a bar of that.’
      • ‘It did not say that, and we will not have a bar of the notion of people rumoured to have criminal backgrounds being treated as criminals.’
      • ‘Some of us will not have a bar of being owned by anyone.’
      • ‘The tribunal was not having a bar of it.’
      • ‘I'm not having a bar of these trash cultures.’
      • ‘He will not have a bar of claims his tax is not a first-rate one.’
      • ‘This is an attempt by a small party to try and squeeze in and we're not having a bar of it.’
      • ‘He will borrow money overseas to give away to the big polluters to compensate, but in the end the electorate will not have a bar of it.’
      • ‘I was going to write her mum's mother's day card but she would not have a bar of that.’
      • ‘He wants to privatise what is left of the public sector, and the ordinary New Zealand voter will not have a bar of that, at all.’
  • set the bar

    • Fix the standards which need to be met in order to qualify for something.

      ‘the school sets the bar high and the students rise to meet it’
      • ‘I may be setting the bar a bit too high in the case of this columnist.’
      • ‘I just want to set the bar high, because we are in a competition for the future.’
      • ‘The company has set the bar even higher in the industry's efforts to address the issue of diversity.’
      • ‘The issue is where we set the bar for acceptable behaviour.’
      • ‘We are not going to set the bar so high that we're setting ourselves up to fail.’
      • ‘We didn't set the bar at perfection.’
      • ‘He should explain all of his dealings, and set the bar for the entire field of candidates to provide the truth.’
      • ‘Lateral thinking skills allow employees to keep setting the bar higher and exceeding expectations.’
      • ‘We always plan to play in the National Championship final, if that isn't our goal we aren't setting the bar high enough.’
      • ‘There's no question that the country is better on average at respecting human rights than its neighbours, but that's setting the bar extraordinarily low.’
      • ‘It is implicit that both tribunals have set the bar too low in terms of the standard of care.’


Middle English: from Old French barre (noun), barrer (verb), of unknown origin.




Main definitions of bar in English

: bar1bar2



  • A unit of pressure equivalent to a hundred thousand newtons per square metre or approximately one atmosphere.

    • ‘Nevertheless, to the diver, it still affords a fascinating glimpse of another world - a world so incredibly shallow that it is difficult to surface without at least a hundred bars.’
    • ‘Seals were water-tight even at pressures of several bars, but did not interrupt water flow in the xylem.’
    • ‘105 bars confining pressure was applied to prevent leakage in between the cylindrical face and the membrane.’
    • ‘In both cars, an electric pump compresses air into the tank at a pressure of 300 bars.’


Early 20th century: from Greek baros ‘weight’.