Definition of barrel in English:

barrel

noun

  • 1A cylindrical container bulging out in the middle, traditionally made of wooden staves with metal hoops round them:

    ‘the wine is then matured in old barrels’
    • ‘Transfer to a wooden barrel or similar container and leave to cool down to a temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius.’
    • ‘Use what you have - rocks, broken-up concrete, logs, old metal barrels or even sawhorses.’
    • ‘The owner produces it in small quantities and he matures it in earthenware containers rather than in wooden barrels as most vineyards do today.’
    • ‘There were cobwebs and old wooden crates and barrels scattered carelessly about; evidently, this place had once been used for storage.’
    • ‘Butter has been stored and shipped in wooden barrels, casks, tubs, and eventually paraffin paper and parchment.’
    • ‘The masseur took a wooden barrel containing liquid medicine that compounds 28 kinds of Chinese herbal medicine.’
    • ‘Many gardeners enjoy planting violas in windowboxes, cedar deck planters, wooden half barrels, and a host of other containers.’
    • ‘The building itself was made out of wood, and contained several rusted metal barrels and crates.’
    • ‘Back then the barrels were wooden and extremely heavy it was hard work.’
    • ‘Reports by the Heilongjiang Daily and Xinhua News Agency said five metal barrels were uncovered at a construction site in the city on August 4.’
    • ‘They develop in almost any container that collects rainwater, such as barrels, tanks, old tires, cups, cans, and bottles.’
    • ‘Shelley reached out and ran a finger along the wooden stock and metal barrel.’
    • ‘Organic containers such as leather or wooden wine barrels may also have travelled north into Europe but have not survived.’
    • ‘This port is put into wooden port barrels or pipes, but instead of just two years in oak as in the case of a declared vintage port, it spends four to six years in barrel.’
    • ‘If your garden space is limited, try planting bluebonnets in containers such as large clay pots, wooden barrels, or planter boxes.’
    • ‘The coopers walk round the barrel knocking down the temporary iron hoops.’
    • ‘The final scene in the wine cellar became much more realistic and professional with the introduction of dark lighting, wine barrels and metal gate.’
    • ‘Its a patriotic American living thing and it arrives in a traditional hoop bound oak stave barrel half all ready to be planted in Washington DC.’
    • ‘Modern farming generates a significant amount of waste such as fertiliser bags, silage wrapping, barrels, scrap metal fencing wire drums and strings from bales.’
    • ‘The butter made at the summer dairies was easily stored in wooden boxes and small barrels and during the winter was an important complement to most foods.’
    cask, keg, butt, vat, tun, tub, drum, tank, firkin, hogshead, kilderkin, pin, pipe, barrique
    solera
    puncheon, tierce
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A barrel together with its contents:
      ‘a barrel of beer’
      • ‘In the North Sea it costs between $10 and $12 to extract a barrel of crude compared to just $5 in Saudi Arabia.’
      • ‘The benchmark price for a barrel of crude for delivery in December slipped below $20 as the slowdown in the world economy, coupled with the warm winter, has caused demand to fall.’
      • ‘With a barrel of gunpowder between your legs its difficult to recall the details of your past.’
      • ‘The latest incident came as concerns over the security of world oil supplies mounted and the price of a barrel of crude on the London market passed $54 for the first time.’
      • ‘When the euro and the dollar were at about parity, and oil was selling for $40 a barrel, it took €40 to buy a barrel of oil.’
      • ‘Robert Johnson sold his soul to play guitar and Keith Richards sold his for a barrel of booze, but The Boggs' murky flint comes from smoking the ashes of both those devilish contracts.’
      • ‘But I remember messengers coming to my father's house with tales of catastrophes that happened in where there was a barrel of wash ready to be distilled.’
      • ‘Twenty-first century conservation harnesses new technology to squeeze as much out of a barrel of oil as we have learned to squeeze out of a computer chip.’
      • ‘The rule of thumb is that every $10 per barrel increase in the price of a barrel of oil shaves half a percentage point off of GDP growth.’
      • ‘A barrel of wood preservative caught fire and exploded leaving nine-year-old Stephen with extensive burns from which he died.’
      • ‘The winning team will receive a barrel of Guinness.’
      • ‘The bathhouse evolved from a creek-side fire pit into an indoor washing room that heats a barrel of water for all your scrubbing needs.’
      • ‘As the easy stuff is used up, we arrive at the point where we must finally expend a whole barrel of oil to produce a barrel of oil.’
      • ‘An American television network reported that initial tests on a barrel of chemicals found by US forces in northern Iraq had detected nerve and blistering agents.’
      • ‘The protest came as the price of a barrel of light crude oil rose to $55.82, edging back towards the all-time record of $58.28 seen at the start of April.’
      • ‘One Lewis seaman at Trafalgar lost his leg below the knee and to stop the bleeding put his leg into a barrel of tar.’
      • ‘Clooney struts around grizzled, looking like he had just bathed in a barrel of trout entrails.’
      • ‘Maybe it's an ode to l' grand Bacchus… Maybe if we eat them we'll morph into a barrel of wine… Are we on a date?’
      • ‘And he loved to tell the yarn about how he and a pal pilfered a barrel of whiskey out from under the noses of the police during Prohibition.’
      • ‘In the cart house across the street, swept clean in advance, a barrel of Guinness was set on a trestle and the black stuff was dispensed to all comers.’
    2. 1.2 A measure of capacity used for oil and beer, usually equal to 36 imperial gallons for beer and 35 imperial gallons or 42 US gallons (roughly 159 litres) for oil:
      ‘the well was producing 10,000 barrels a day’
      • ‘The pipeline has the capacity to carry 250,000 barrels of oil a day.’
      • ‘A new refinery will be constructed in central Iraq, with a production capacity of 30,000 barrels per day.’
      • ‘Anheuser-Busch, which sold almost 110 million barrels of beer worldwide last year, finds the Sunshine State a thirsty one.’
      • ‘By 1985 there was still 15 million barrels per day spare capacity, about a quarter of world demand at the time.’
      • ‘Asia uses roughly 20 million barrels daily for 3.6 billion people (including India).’
      • ‘In 2001, the industry produced more than 6.2 million barrels of craft beer in the United States.’
      • ‘From 200 tons of turkey waste this plant can produce roughly 450 barrels of oil a day, which is being sold commercially.’
      • ‘The tanker Jessica - carrying some 7700 barrels of fuel - ran aground on Tuesday.’
      • ‘Richard and Jude produce 15 barrels of beer a week at present and soon hope to take on their first full time employee.’
      • ‘Overall, the refineries have a combined capacity of 1.05 million barrels per day.’
      • ‘Annual capacity would be 200,000 tonnes, equivalent to 1.7 million barrels or 1.97 million hectolitres of beer.’
      • ‘Ten years ago we had about 5 million barrels of spare capacity.’
      • ‘Look, generally speaking $1 a barrel is roughly a cent a litre, maybe slightly less.’
      • ‘The cask in which Ronald Huckvale will be placed on his 21st birthday will be a ponto - the equivalent in gallonage to four barrels.’
      • ‘Supply from Iraq, which daily pumped at most half of its estimated 2.1 million barrels capacity last year, remains uncertain.’
      • ‘A brewer's barrel holds 36 gallons, they produce 120 a week.’
      • ‘Plus, good to the last gallon or barrel: we'll hear from an author who says oil is running out and fast.’
      • ‘The two-year-old plant has the capacity to make 3,000 barrels of crude biofuel each week.’
      • ‘South Africa has the most important refineries in the region with a total capacity of 650 000 barrels per day.’
      • ‘By 1911 the Moturoa oilfield had three wells producing around 110 barrels of oil a week.’
  • 2A cylindrical tube forming part of an object such as a gun or a pen:

    ‘a gun barrel’
    • ‘Lou quickly pushed the gun down so the barrel pointed the ground.’
    • ‘That is, with both shotgun barrels, a sub-machine gun, and a howitzer.’
    • ‘On each side of his head, above each ear, were black metal guns with their narrow barrels pointed forwards connected by a black band around the back of his head.’
    • ‘Criminals could learn to defeat this system by altering the gun barrel with an instrument, but the system could prove useful.’
    • ‘So there we were, on that dusty street in ‘High Noon’ eyeing each other down the barrels of our guns.’
    • ‘For more than a decade, we knew only one thing, to settle arguments through the barrels of our guns.’
    • ‘As Mr Smith got into Hickson's van, Hickson fired off both barrels of the gun, one blast hitting him in the neck, the other hitting the driver's seat.’
    • ‘All he saw was the barrel of a gun pointed in his face.’
    • ‘Eries raised his gun and pointed its barrel at two lone guards on the far side of the light.’
    • ‘She started to point the barrel of her gun at his forehead.’
    • ‘The Rakais warrior brought the heavy barrel of the rail gun to bear on the armor not more than a hundred meters from his position and pressed a small switch on the weapon's handle.’
    • ‘He stared at the floating gun, the barrel of which was pointed at him.’
    • ‘Instead of using explosives to propel a shell out of a gun barrel, a rail gun uses magnetism to speed a projectile along two rails.’
    • ‘Beside it, another tense wooden spar holds an inscribed scarf and an enigmatic black tube resembling a rifle barrel.’
    • ‘She felt the barrel of a gun pointed at the back of her head.’
    • ‘They are the Mom and Dad and kids walking to work or school while looking for a gun barrel pointed at them from a white van.’
    • ‘The original bunker busters used in the first gulf war were made from the barrels of large navel guns filled with 250 lbs of explosives and fitted with guiding fins.’
    • ‘Lior, approaching ever closer, saw the terrorist run up to the jeep and point the barrel of his gun directly at the head of one of the unconscious policemen.’
    • ‘My biggest nemesis began to quiver as I pointed the barrel of his own gun at him.’
    • ‘On the shallow side of the bridge we found the C gun turret, its barrel pointed slightly down towards the deck.’
  • 3The belly and loins of a four-legged animal such as a horse:

    ‘a Welsh mountain pony with a barrel like a butt of wine’
    • ‘His long legs stretched well past her barrel which hampered her a bit, but Myrick was an well done rider and did his best to make her journey smooth.’
    • ‘Some of us took that moment to stuff Pop-Tarts left from breakfast into the barrel of the wooden horse's belly.’
    • ‘He fell with a bubbling gurgle, and Bahzell put his armored shoulder into the barrel of his companion's rearing horse.’
    • ‘When it slides off the wither down to mid back, the girth is no longer at the barrel of the horse.’

verb

  • 1North American informal [no object, with adverbial of direction] Drive or move in a way that is so fast as to almost be out of control:

    ‘they shot him and then barreled away in the truck’
    • ‘The driver lost control and barrelled off the road narrowly missing one of the other jeeps as he did.’
    • ‘Most people would have panicked and fled at the sight of such a huge creature barreling forward at high speed with intent to kill.’
    • ‘The impact caused the car to swerve 180 degrees, and it completely missed the conveyor belt, instead barreling toward the very small office of Mr. Vanderjagt.’
    • ‘So insignificant, but I was walking home very late and in my rush almost barreled into a woman who was intensely trying to fish out some candy from a pesky wrapper.’
    • ‘Two four-wheeled drives barrelled over the crossing, somehow missing him.’
    • ‘Corks's eyes shot open as a heavily damaged Dominion Interceptor barreled toward them out of control.’
    • ‘He came barrelling forward charging Brian like a bull.’
    • ‘She dribbled up the middle and rather than stopping when she saw Jaelyn in front of her she barreled on charging her friend and making the shot.’
    • ‘So, as you might imagine, a planet wide radar would obviously detect a ship barreling down at full speed with all weapons blazing.’
    • ‘Erin was supposed to be watching for race cars barreling down the road, but he was busy describing his adventures at the mini-games park to Mr. Saturn.’
    • ‘This week, another runaway dump truck from a local construction site barrelled out of control down one of West Vancouver's steep streets.’
    • ‘They were barreling along much like monkeys, swinging their legs forward then their arms, hissing and screeching the entire time.’
    • ‘Walker says the police barreled toward the vigil too fast for safety.’
    • ‘The Shadow Warrior was barreling down fast, he was just about to run over the top of Harry when… BAAAAM!’
    • ‘It barrels down the tracks so fast, he thinks, that it can't stop.’
    • ‘The old-school wheeled contraption barreled down the road faster than Marcus or Trevor expected.’
    • ‘Lian is barreling down the corridor blasting anything in sight.’
    • ‘Jerry yelled as he barreled down the rubberized stairs to the band room.’
    • ‘The idea would have been appealing, had we not been traveling at 65 mph on the highway, with tractor-trailers barreling along beside us.’
    • ‘Chris barreled toward her nervous stature at a fast speed, his long arms wrapping themselves around her frame as he spun her around.’
  • 2[with object] Put into a barrel or barrels:

    ‘when the young spirit is barrelled, it absorbs some of this flavour’
    • ‘Barreling your beer is much less messy and time-consuming than using bottles.’
    • ‘All waste oil is barreled for pick up by a waste oil burning company.’
    • ‘The natural pressure will build up during the secondary fermentation, caused by the addition of priming sugar and barreling the beer before the yeast has died.’

Phrases

  • a barrel of laughs

    • informal [with negative]A source of amusement or pleasure:

      ‘life is not exactly a barrel of laughs at the moment’
      • ‘Chuck (played with masterful restraint by Peter Sarsgaard) is a paternal authority figure and not a barrel of laughs.’
      • ‘Life in Pink Floyd never looked like a barrel of laughs.’
      • ‘Can she really believe that Julius Caesar is a barrel of laughs?’
      • ‘In the meantime my boyfriend has to manage my moods, which vary from avoidance, sullen whining and self-doubt - not exactly a barrel of laughs!’
      • ‘Geez, the Timmons family reunions must be a real barrel of laughs.’
      • ‘Being Chief Justice (he got the job last week) is not a barrel of laughs.’
      • ‘A disparate group meeting for weekly tap dance lessons might not sound like a barrel of laughs but that's exactly what Stepping Out is.’
      • ‘Well, here's one parent who's a whole barrel of laughs.’
      • ‘An event that has raised more than £2,000 for breast cancer was a barrel of laughs on Saturday.’
      • ‘The trouble is that despite some good moments, an appearance by Tom Waits and the warm endorsement of this columnist, Witness is hardly a barrel of laughs for the casual listener.’
      joker, comedian, comic, humorist, wag, wit, funny man, funny woman, prankster, jokester, clown, buffoon, character
      View synonyms
  • over a barrel

    • informal In a helpless position; at someone's mercy:

      ‘I like doing business with a man who knows he's over a barrel’
      • ‘‘I felt I was being held over a barrel - I did not have time to find anywhere else, so it was that or nothing,’ said Wilkins, her rent now £2,003 a month.’
      • ‘We've got them over a barrel now, they are already trying to settle!’
      • ‘Supermarkets have the farmer over a barrel, he suggested.’
      • ‘Opec, the powerful consortium of the world's oil-producing countries, meets in Vienna today, and they have us over a barrel as the oil price hits $35.’
      • ‘The award also upped his asking price, supposes Broadbent, ‘although, if you're intent upon doing good work, producers know they have you over a barrel.’’
      • ‘Like many of the video covers they show, they have you over a barrel and the price is slightly higher than it should be.’
      • ‘Bill Greenshields, secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Derbyshire, says the staff feel they are being put over a barrel.’
      • ‘Because the collective wisdom of industrial relations seems to be, that if you have your opponent over a barrel, you can name your price.’
      • ‘We've got you over a barrel, because you and your taxpayers have no choice but to see this through, so why should we pay?’
      • ‘The radio stations dictate success or failure for most artists, and have the record companies over a barrel.’
  • with both barrels

    • informal With unrestrained force or emotion:

      ‘cut to the quick, he let go with both barrels’
      • ‘Christopher Hitchens, never a shrinking violet, lets his old comrades, the loony left, have it with both barrels in today's Washington Post.’
      • ‘Excellent ministers, who have helped improve this country greatly over the past seven years, let me have it with both barrels.’
      • ‘Dan McNutt, underwhelmed by the grovelling that has occurred recently regarding certain sports ‘heroes’, lets fly with both barrels again.’
      • ‘He paused for a pull on his Coors, then added, ‘I want you to give us hell tomorrow and give it to us with both barrels.’’
      • ‘Anyone who attempted to explore this issue was likely to be shouted down with charges of ‘racist’, and Blainey suffered the treatment with both barrels.’
      • ‘Don Henley lets the music industry have it with both barrels in a Washington Post editorial: When I started in the music business, music was important and vital to our culture.’
      • ‘And she didn't need you hauling off and hitting her with both barrels like that!’
      • ‘I gave it to them with both barrels after the game, even though I know it could get me into trouble.’
      • ‘By this time both Patsy and Desmond were dead, but the oldest of their grieving children, Cassandra, let fly with both barrels at Rantzen's ‘cruel and vicious account’.’
      • ‘As the Celtic manager gave it to referee John Rowbotham with both barrels, Young attempted to calm him down.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French baril, from medieval Latin barriclus small cask.

Pronunciation

barrel

/ˈbar(ə)l/