From Middle English barrell, from Anglo-Norman baril, Old French baril, bareil (“barrel”), of uncertain origin. An attempt to link baril to Old French barre (“bar, bolt”) (compare Medieval Latin barra (“bar, rod”)) via assumed Vulgar Latin *barrīculum meets the phonological requirement, but fails to connect the word semantically. The alternate connection to Frankish *baril, *beril or Gothic 𐌱𐌴𐍂𐌹𐌻𐍃 (bērils, “container for transport”), from Proto-Germanic *barilaz (“barrel, jug, container”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-, *bʰrē- (“to carry, transport”), is more plausible as it connects not only the form of the word but also the sense; equivalent to bear + -le. Compare also Old High German biril (“jug, large pot”), Luxembourgish Bärel, Bierel (“jug, pot”), Old Norse berill (“barrel for liquids”), Old English byrla (“barrel of a horse, trunk, body”). More at bear.
barrel (plural barrels)
- (countable) A round vessel or cask, of greater length than breadth, and bulging in the middle, made of staves bound with hoops, and having flat ends or heads. Sometimes applied to a similar cylindrical container made of metal, usually called a drum.
2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).
a cracker barrel
- The quantity which constitutes a full barrel: the volume or weight this represents varies by local law and custom.
1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, volume 4, page 205: Again, by 28 Hen. VIII, cap. 14, it is re-enacted that the tun of wine should contain 252 gallons, a butt of Malmsey 126 gallons, a pipe 126 gallons, a tercian or puncheon 84 gallons, a hogshead 63 gallons, a tierce 41 gallons, a barrel 31.5 gallons, a rundlet 18.5 gallons. 1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, volume 4, page 205: 23 Hen. VIII, cap. 4... The barrel of beer is to hold 36 gallons, the kilderkin 18 gallons the firkin 9. But the barrel, kilderkin, and firkin of ale are to contain 32, 16, and 8 gallons.
- A solid drum, or a hollow cylinder or case
the barrel of a windlass; the barrel of a watch, within which the spring is coiled.
- A metallic tube, as of a gun, from which a projectile is discharged.
- (archaic) A tube.
- (zoology) The hollow basal part of a feather.
- (music) The part of a clarinet which connects the mouthpiece and upper joint, and looks rather like a barrel (1).
- (surfing) A wave that breaks with a hollow compartment.
- (US, specifically New England) A waste receptacle.
Throw it into the trash barrel.
- The ribs and belly of a horse or pony.
- (obsolete) A jar.
- Bible, 1 Kings 17:12, King James Version:
- And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: […]
- compare the New International Version:
- "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. […]
- (biology) Any of the dark-staining regions in the somatosensory cortex of rodents, etc., where somatosensory inputs from the contralateral side of the body come in from the thalamus.
- (This is a hot sense, kept provisionally) (baseball) A statistic derived from launch angle and exit velocity of a ball hit in play.
round vessel made from staves bound with a hoop
- Afrikaans: vat (af)
- Albanian: fuçi (sq) f
- Arabic: بِرْمِيل m (birmīl)
- Egyptian Arabic: برميل m (barmīl)
- Armenian: տակառ (hy) (takaṙ)
- Azerbaijani: çəllək (az)
- Belarusian: бо́чка f (bóčka)
- Bengali: পিপা (pipa)
- Bulgarian: бъ̀чва (bg) f (bǎ̀čva), бу́ре (bg) n (búre), ка́ца (bg) f (káca)
- Burmese: စည် (my) (cany), စည်ပိုင်း (my) (canypuing:)
- Catalan: bóta (ca) f, barral m, barril m, bocoi (ca) m
- Mandarin: 桶 (zh) (tǒng)
- Cornish: balyer m
- Czech: sud (cs) m, bečka (cs) f
- Danish: tønde (da) c, fad n
- Dutch: ton (nl), vat (nl) n
- Esperanto: barelo
- Estonian: vaat
- Faroese: tunna f
- Finnish: tynnyri (fi)
- French: tonneau (fr), barrique (fr) f
- Middle French: tonnel m
- Old French: tonel m
- Georgian: კასრი (ḳasri)
- German: Fass (de) n, Tonne (de) f
- Greek: βαρέλι (el) n (varéli)
- Ancient: πίθος m (píthos)
- Hebrew: חָבִית (he) f (khavít)
- Hindi: पीपा (hi) m (pīpā)
- Hungarian: hordó (hu)
- Icelandic: tunna (is) f
- Indonesian: tong (id)
- Interlingue: baril
- Irish: bairille m
- Italian: barile (it) m, botte (it) f
- Japanese: 樽 (ja) (たる, taru)
- Kazakh: бөшке (böşke)
- Khmer: តុង (km) (tong), ធុង (km) (thung)
- Korean: 통 (ko) (tong) (桶 (ko))
- Kyrgyz: бочка (ky) (boçka)
- Lao: ຖັງ (thang), ກະຖັງ (ka thang), ກະໂຫລ່ງ (ka lō nga)
- Latgalian: buca
- Latin: dolium n
- Latvian: muca (lv)
- Lithuanian: statinė f
- Luxembourgish: Faass n
- Macedonian: буре n (bure)
- Malay: tong
- Maltese: bittija f
- Manx: stoandey m
- Maori: kāho
- Mongolian: боошиг (boošig), торх (mn) (torh)
- Norman: bathi
- Bokmål: tønne (no) m or f, fat (no) n
- Nynorsk: tunne f, tønne f, fat (nn)
- Old Church Slavonic: бъчька (bŭčĭka)
- Persian: بشکه (fa) (boške)
- Polish: beczka (pl) f
- Portuguese: barril (pt)
- Romanian: butoi (ro), bute (ro)
- Russian: бо́чка (ru) f (bóčka)
- Scottish Gaelic: baraille m
- Cyrillic: ба̏чва f, бу̏ре n
- Roman: bȁčva (sh) f, bȕre (sh) n
- Slovak: sud (sk) m
- Slovene: sod (sl) m
- Spanish: barril m, tonel (es) m
- Sudovian: kanove f
- Swahili: pipa (sw)
- Swedish: tunna (sv) c, fat (sv) n, oljefat (sv) n
- Tajik: бочка (bočka)
- Thai: ถัง (th) (tǎng)
- Tibetan: ཟོམ (zom), ཆུ་ཟོམ (chu zom)
- Turkish: fıçı (tr)
- Turkmen: çelek
- Ukrainian: бо́чка (uk) f (bóčka)
- Urdu: پیپا m (pīpā)
- Uyghur: چېلەك (chëlek)
- Uzbek: bochka (uz)
- Vietnamese: thùng rượu, thùng tonneau, thùng tròn
- Walloon: tonea (wa) m
- Welsh: casgen f
- Yiddish: פאַס (fas)
solid drum, hollow cylinder or case
zoology: hollow basal part of a feather
surfing: wave that breaks with a hollow compartment
ribs and belly of a horse or pony
biology: dark-staining regions in the somatosensory cortex of rodents
barrel (third-person singular simple present barrels, present participle barrelling or barreling, simple past and past participle barrelled or barreled)
- (transitive) To put or to pack in a barrel or barrels.
- (intransitive) To move quickly or in an uncontrolled manner.
- He came barrelling around the corner and I almost hit him.
2017 July 23, Brandon Nowalk, “The great game begins with a bang on Game Of Thrones (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club:
At a certain point, Game Of Thrones started barreling toward the end, cutting itself down to—contra Ian McShane—exposition and battles, and it lost too much of its life (not to be confused with “too many of its lives”).
2012, John Branch, “Snow Fall : The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”, in New York Time:
- Snow shattered and spilled down the slope. Within seconds, the avalanche was the size of more than a thousand cars barreling down the mountain and weighed millions of pounds.
to move quickly or in an uncontrolled manner