Definition of barrel in English:

barrel

noun

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

    • ‘Butter has been stored and shipped in wooden barrels, casks, tubs, and eventually paraffin paper and parchment.’
    • ‘Use what you have - rocks, broken-up concrete, logs, old metal barrels or even sawhorses.’
    • ‘Shelley reached out and ran a finger along the wooden stock and metal barrel.’
    • ‘The masseur took a wooden barrel containing liquid medicine that compounds 28 kinds of Chinese herbal medicine.’
    • ‘There were cobwebs and old wooden crates and barrels scattered carelessly about; evidently, this place had once been used for storage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Back then the barrels were wooden and extremely heavy it was hard work.’
    • ‘They develop in almost any container that collects rainwater, such as barrels, tanks, old tires, cups, cans, and bottles.’
    • ‘Organic containers such as leather or wooden wine barrels may also have travelled north into Europe but have not survived.’
    • ‘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 owner produces it in small quantities and he matures it in earthenware containers rather than in wooden barrels as most vineyards do today.’
    • ‘The coopers walk round the barrel knocking down the temporary iron hoops.’
    • ‘If your garden space is limited, try planting bluebonnets in containers such as large clay pots, wooden barrels, or planter boxes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The building itself was made out of wood, and contained several rusted metal barrels and crates.’
    • ‘The final scene in the wine cellar became much more realistic and professional with the introduction of dark lighting, wine barrels and metal gate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many gardeners enjoy planting violas in windowboxes, cedar deck planters, wooden half barrels, and a host of other containers.’
    • ‘Transfer to a wooden barrel or similar container and leave to cool down to a temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius.’
    cask, keg, butt, vat, tun, tub, drum, tank, firkin, hogshead, kilderkin, pin, pipe, barrique
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    1. 1.1 A barrel together with its contents.
      ‘a barrel of beer’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Clooney struts around grizzled, looking like he had just bathed in a barrel of trout entrails.’
      • ‘One Lewis seaman at Trafalgar lost his leg below the knee and to stop the bleeding put his leg into a barrel of tar.’
      • ‘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 North Sea it costs between $10 and $12 to extract a barrel of crude compared to just $5 in Saudi Arabia.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The winning team will receive a barrel of Guinness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A barrel of wood preservative caught fire and exploded leaving nine-year-old Stephen with extensive burns from which he died.’
      • ‘With a barrel of gunpowder between your legs its difficult to recall the details of your past.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
    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 liters) for oil.
      • ‘By 1911 the Moturoa oilfield had three wells producing around 110 barrels of oil a week.’
      • ‘In 2001, the industry produced more than 6.2 million barrels of craft beer in the United States.’
      • ‘Anheuser-Busch, which sold almost 110 million barrels of beer worldwide last year, finds the Sunshine State a thirsty one.’
      • ‘Asia uses roughly 20 million barrels daily for 3.6 billion people (including India).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The two-year-old plant has the capacity to make 3,000 barrels of crude biofuel each week.’
      • ‘Plus, good to the last gallon or barrel: we'll hear from an author who says oil is running out and fast.’
      • ‘Richard and Jude produce 15 barrels of beer a week at present and soon hope to take on their first full time employee.’
      • ‘Look, generally speaking $1 a barrel is roughly a cent a litre, maybe slightly less.’
      • ‘By 1985 there was still 15 million barrels per day spare capacity, about a quarter of world demand at the time.’
      • ‘Supply from Iraq, which daily pumped at most half of its estimated 2.1 million barrels capacity last year, remains uncertain.’
      • ‘The cask in which Ronald Huckvale will be placed on his 21st birthday will be a ponto - the equivalent in gallonage to four barrels.’
      • ‘Ten years ago we had about 5 million barrels of spare capacity.’
      • ‘A brewer's barrel holds 36 gallons, they produce 120 a week.’
      • ‘Annual capacity would be 200,000 tonnes, equivalent to 1.7 million barrels or 1.97 million hectolitres of beer.’
      • ‘Overall, the refineries have a combined capacity of 1.05 million barrels per day.’
      • ‘South Africa has the most important refineries in the region with a total capacity of 650 000 barrels per 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.’
  • 2A tube forming part of an object such as a gun or a pen.

    • ‘She felt the barrel of a gun pointed at the back of her head.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lou quickly pushed the gun down so the barrel pointed the ground.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Criminals could learn to defeat this system by altering the gun barrel with an instrument, but the system could prove useful.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the shallow side of the bridge we found the C gun turret, its barrel pointed slightly down towards the deck.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So there we were, on that dusty street in ‘High Noon’ eyeing each other down the barrels of our guns.’
    • ‘Eries raised his gun and pointed its barrel at two lone guards on the far side of the light.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My biggest nemesis began to quiver as I pointed the barrel of his own gun at him.’
    • ‘For more than a decade, we knew only one thing, to settle arguments through the barrels of our guns.’
    • ‘Beside it, another tense wooden spar holds an inscribed scarf and an enigmatic black tube resembling a rifle barrel.’
    • ‘All he saw was the barrel of a gun pointed in his face.’
    • ‘That is, with both shotgun barrels, a sub-machine gun, and a howitzer.’
    • ‘He stared at the floating gun, the barrel of which was pointed at him.’
  • 3The belly and loins of a four-legged animal such as a horse.

    • ‘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.

    ‘we barreled across the Everglades’
    ‘they were barreling along the Ventura freeway’
    • ‘The driver lost control and barrelled off the road narrowly missing one of the other jeeps as he did.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chris barreled toward her nervous stature at a fast speed, his long arms wrapping themselves around her frame as he spun her around.’
    • ‘It barrels down the tracks so fast, he thinks, that it can't stop.’
    • ‘The Shadow Warrior was barreling down fast, he was just about to run over the top of Harry when… BAAAAM!’
    • ‘The idea would have been appealing, had we not been traveling at 65 mph on the highway, with tractor-trailers barreling along beside us.’
    • ‘Corks's eyes shot open as a heavily damaged Dominion Interceptor barreled toward them out of control.’
    • ‘They were barreling along much like monkeys, swinging their legs forward then their arms, hissing and screeching the entire time.’
    • ‘Two four-wheeled drives barrelled over the crossing, somehow missing him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most people would have panicked and fled at the sight of such a huge creature barreling forward at high speed with intent to kill.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The old-school wheeled contraption barreled down the road faster than Marcus or Trevor expected.’
    • ‘So, as you might imagine, a planet wide radar would obviously detect a ship barreling down at full speed with all weapons blazing.’
    • ‘This week, another runaway dump truck from a local construction site barrelled out of control down one of West Vancouver's steep streets.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He came barrelling forward charging Brian like a bull.’
    • ‘Walker says the police barreled toward the vigil too fast for safety.’
    • ‘Jerry yelled as he barreled down the rubberized stairs to the band room.’
    • ‘Lian is barreling down the corridor blasting anything in sight.’
    hurry, race, run, sprint, dash, bolt, dart, rush, hasten, hurtle, career, streak, shoot, whizz, zoom, go like lightning, go hell for leather, spank along, bowl along, rattle along, whirl, whoosh, buzz, swoop, flash, blast, charge, stampede, gallop, sweep, hare, fly, wing, scurry, scud, scutter, scramble
    View synonyms
  • 2with object Put into a barrel or barrels.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • a barrel of laughs

    • informal with negativeA source of fun or amusement.

      ‘life is not exactly a barrel of laughs at the moment’
      • ‘An event that has raised more than £2,000 for breast cancer was a barrel of laughs on Saturday.’
      • ‘Can she really believe that Julius Caesar is a barrel of laughs?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Life in Pink Floyd never looked like 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!’
      • ‘Being Chief Justice (he got the job last week) is not a barrel of laughs.’
      • ‘Chuck (played with masterful restraint by Peter Sarsgaard) is a paternal authority figure and 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.’
      • ‘Geez, the Timmons family reunions must be a real barrel of laughs.’
      joker, comedian, comic, humorist, wag, wit, funny man, funny woman, prankster, jokester, clown, buffoon, character
      View synonyms
  • on the barrel

    • (of payment) without delay.

      ‘I gotta be paid cash on the barrel’
      • ‘Adam knew his father always liked to pay up front for his purchases, always called it ‘cash on the barrel.’’
      • ‘Why not just hand out talking points to these guys instead of cash on the barrel?’
      • ‘So Moron gets the bright idea that instead of taking out a loan from Venezuela, we will pay cash on the barrel but ask for a reduction in the price.’
  • over a barrel

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We've got them over a barrel now, they are already trying to settle!’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘Supermarkets have the farmer over a barrel, he suggested.’
  • with both barrels

    • informal With unrestrained force or emotion.

      • ‘As the Celtic manager gave it to referee John Rowbotham with both barrels, Young attempted to calm him down.’
      • ‘And she didn't need you hauling off and hitting her with both barrels like that!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I gave it to them with both barrels after the game, even though I know it could get me into trouble.’
      • ‘Dan McNutt, underwhelmed by the grovelling that has occurred recently regarding certain sports ‘heroes’, lets fly with both barrels again.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

barrel

/ˈberəl//ˈbɛrəl/