Definition of bar noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary




for drinks/food

1 [countable] a place where you can buy and drink alcoholic and other drinksWe met at a bar called the Flamingo.the island's only bara cocktail barThe hotel has a restaurant, bar and swimming pool. see also barroom, minibar2 [countable] a long wide wooden surface where drinks, etc. are servedShe was sitting at the bar.It was so crowded I couldn't get to the bar.3 [countable] (especially in compounds) a place in which a particular kind of food or drink is the main thing that is serveda sandwich bara salad bara coffee bar see also oxygen bar, raw bar, snack bar, wine bar

of chocolate/soap

4 [countable] a piece of something with straight sidesa bar of chocolate/soapcandy bars

of metal/wood

5 [countable] a long straight piece of metal or wood. Bars are often used to stop someone from getting through a spaceHe smashed the window with an iron bar.All the ground-floor windows had bars on them.a five-bar gate (= one made with five horizontal bars of wood) see also roll bar, space bar, tow bar

of color/light

6 [countable] a band of color or lightBars of sunlight slanted down from the tall narrow windows.

that prevents something

7 [countable, usually singular] bar (to something) a thing that stops someone from doing somethingAt that time being a woman was a bar to promotion in most professions. see also color bar

in music

8 (also measure) [countable] one of the short sections of equal length that a piece of music is divided into, and the notes that are in itfour beats to the barthe opening bars of a piece of music


9 the bar [singular] the profession of any kind of lawyerto be admitted to the bar (= allowed to work as a lawyer)the bar exam (= the test you must pass to become a lawyer)You need to pass the bar if you really want to practice law.He is a member of the Georgia State Bar. note at lawyer


10 [countable] a unit for measuring the pressure of the atmosphere, equal to a hundred thousand newtons per square meter see also millibar

in sports

11 the bar [singular] the crossbar of a goalHis shot hit the bar.

behind bars

(informal) in prisonThe murderer is now safely behind bars.behind bars

lower the bar

to set a new lower standard of quality or performance
In the current economic climate we may need to lower the bar on quotas.lower the bar

raise the bar

to set a new, higher standard of quality or performance
The factory has raised the bar on productivity, food safety, and quality.This latest computer game raises the bar for interface design.The awards go to people who have truly raised the bar.Perhaps the new admission requirements raised the bar too high.raise the bar

set the bar

to set a standard of quality or performance
The show really sets the bar for artistic invention.Sofia sets the bar very high for what she expects of herself.set the bar
Usage noteUsage note: a bar of chocolateIf you want to describe a whole unit of a particular substance, or a group of things that are normally together, for example when you buy them, you need to use the correct word.a bar of soap/chocolate; a candy bara block of ice/stone/wooda bolt/roll/length of fabrica cube of ice/sugar; an ice/sugar cubea loaf of breada slab of marble/concretea stick of guma bunch of bananas/grapesa bunch/bouquet of flowersa bundle of sticksa set/ring of keysa set of chairs/glasses/clothes/guitar stringsa suite of furnitureUsage noteUsage note: lawyersLawyer is a general term for a person who is qualified to advise people about the law, to prepare legal documents for them, and/or to represent them in a court of law.Attorney is a more formal word used for a lawyer and is used especially in job titles: district attorneyCounsel is the formal legal word used for a lawyer who is representing someone in court: counsel for the prosecutionAfter a lawyer passes the exam allowing him or her to represent someone in court in a particular state, you say that he or she has passed the bar or is a member of the bar in that state.