Definition of barber in US English:



  • A person who cuts hair, especially men's, and shaves or trims beards as an occupation.

    • ‘The advent of safety razors has rendered local barbers jobless.’
    • ‘As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Clinton in his chair reached for the aftershave.’
    • ‘In other words: nowadays no one shaves himself, but everyone is shaved by a barber.’
    • ‘Some barbers and hairdressers can make house calls.’
    • ‘The leaflets have been distributed to local health centres, barbers and fashion shops.’
    • ‘Come Monday he would have his hair cut and take a post-weekend shave at the in-house barbers.’
    • ‘Everyone in Singapore knows him, even if only as the guy who got sued so much that he can't afford to get a barber to trim his monstrous sideburns.’
    • ‘Three local men have volunteered to have their beards shaved by a female barber all the way from Seville.’
    • ‘I don't suppose Roy Keane favours his current coiffeur on the grounds that number one shaven heads are still de rigueur at his local barbers.’
    • ‘Once you get hooked on composting, you'll even start going after the local barber for hair, and even saving dryer lint!’
    • ‘Local dry cleaners and barbers depend on the patronage of Marines and their families.’
    • ‘Thus, it has become very important to make a ritual of daily grooming, and there is a huge industry to help - hairdressers, manicurists, barbers, and many more.’
    • ‘The local barber has one serious failing for a member of his profession: he cannot cut hair and talk at the same time.’
    • ‘For barbers, hair stylists and clothes sellers, business has never been better.’
    • ‘I simply forget to go to the barbers - as my hair got longer it did its own thing.’
    • ‘The Egyptian barber was also a manicurist, using a razor to trim the fingernails of clients.’
    • ‘Yitzhak Teva, a local barber, who was slightly injured, said he was busy cutting hair when the blast went off.’
    • ‘Local barber Joe Kelly stood, razor poised, as teacher Eugene O Brien took the hot seat.’
    • ‘He had left for a little while to the barber to be shaved, but came right back.’
    • ‘They go to hairdressers rather than barbers, avoid using soap because it's too harsh on their skin, visit the gym instead of playing sport and even have difficulty deciding what to wear.’


[with object]
  • Cut or trim (a man's hair)

    ‘his hair was neatly barbered’
    • ‘It's a pity my barbering skills begin and end with the grade 2 clipper attachment.’
    • ‘By 1836 he began studying medicine, insisting upon civil rights, and preaching professional training for African Americans rather than barbering or manual labor suggestive of servant or second-class status.’
    • ‘He had dabbled in linguistics, ancient languages, cartography; he had put in a short stint at barbering and a shorter stint at fry cook.’
    • ‘His sandy blonde hair was unruly and uneven from self barbering.’
    • ‘A portion of the immigrants were skilled artisans who typically replicated their old-world crafts of shoemaking and repairing, tailoring, carpentry, and barbering.’
    • ‘James Rexroad Fast friends: At home in the Elite mansion, a newly barbered Sammy watches his housemates take a turn.’
    • ‘The family moved first to Homewood, then to Carman and Lowe Farm, Man., as her husband tried running a machine shop and barbering to support his family.’
    • ‘The participants were asked if they consumed either auto-repair or hairstyling / barbering services and they were given the option of completing either questionnaire if they consumed both services.’
    • ‘His pride in barbering and his lack of education make him, like the other barbers, an object of Jimmy's contempt.’
    • ‘In fact, the place looked like a film-set or a museum of barbering apparatus.’
    • ‘The Baron had sent a barber to his cell from time to time, to keep the beard at bay - the better to display the bruises, Kieran had suspected - but the barbering had always bordered on butchery.’
    • ‘High costs of barbering and laundering made middle-class decorum impractical, but, even if a clean-shaven, white-shirted appearance were possible, everyone preferred tattered clothing, adorned with a revolver and bowie knife.’
    • ‘He set foot in Tubbercurry before World War Two, in 1935 and commenced barbering in town.’
    • ‘She has 17 years barbering experience and is fully qualified in all aspects of the trade.’
    • ‘In 1999, Canonsburg erected a statue to its best-known son, Perry Como, who found singing such a difficult way to make a living he almost returned to full-time barbering.’
    • ‘Results are guaranteed from our inspirational Fitzgerald Hinds doll, which comes complete with fashionable dreadlocks and barbered beard.’
    • ‘It passed over the sleekly barbered lawns and slightly ruffled the neat rows of asters and cannas.’
    • ‘Bernardine who trained as a hairdresser at a private college in London's West End, has garnered many years experience in hairstyling, barbering and colouring and has won international awards for salon management.’
    • ‘We also have their fleeces; despite my ludicrous barbering attempts of a month or so back, the two sets of wool completely filled the wheelbarrow.’
    • ‘Anyway, the shaver was a big step up from Mom's original barbering tool: A comb with a razor-blade attachment that she learned to use by experimenting on my dad, my brother, my uncle Clifford and me.’
    cut short, cut, clip, trim, snip, shear, shave
    View synonyms


Middle English: via Anglo-Norman French from Old French barbe (see barb).