over a barrel

1912 illustration of an inmate being punished in an American prison



over a barrel (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) In a disadvantageous or helpless situation, in which one may be controlled or victimized and is at the mercy of others.
    • 1947, "Happy Day," Time, 1 Sep.,
      Ford had the U.A.W. over a barrel; if it failed to sign by midnight, the U.A.W. would be forced to give up its union shop.



  • over a barrel” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • over a barrel” in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Online
Last modified on 3 March 2014, at 15:54