Definition of barrel noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈbærəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbærəl//
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  1. 1a large round container, usually made of wood or metal, with flat ends and, usually, curved sides a beer/wine barrel
  2. 2the contents of or the amount contained in a barrel; a unit of measurement in the oil industry equal to between 120 and 159 litres They got through two barrels of beer. Oil prices fell to $9 a barrel.
  3. 3the part of a gun like a tube through which the bullets are fired Tom found himself looking down the barrel of a gun. The barrel was aimed directly at me. He fired one barrel and then fired again.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French baril, from medieval Latin barriclus ‘small cask’.Extra examples I felt the gun barrel at my head. Pulling his rifle to his shoulder he squinted along the barrel. She found herself looking down the barrel of a gun. The price of oil had fallen to $16 per barrel. They filled the barrels with cider. a barrel of beer/​oil Crude oil prices hit record highs of more than $70 a barrel. The art of barrel-making is an ancient skill.Idioms (informal, often ironic) very amusing; a lot of fun Life hasn't exactly been a barrel of laughs lately.
    be like shooting fish in a barrel
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    (informal) used to emphasize how easy it is to do something What do you mean you can't do it? It'll be like shooting fish in a barrel!
    including everything He sold the business lock, stock and barrel.
    (get/have somebody) over a barrel
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    (informal) (to put/have somebody) in a situation in which they must accept or do what you want They've got us over a barrel. Either we agree to their terms or we lose the money.
    scrape (the bottom of) the barrel
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    (disapproving) to have to use whatever things or people you can get, because there is not much choice available
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: barrel