• The Jamestown cooper was a busy craftsman. Many barrels, hogsheads, and casks were needed in the colony, and large quantities of barrel staves were made for shipping to England. (Painting by Sidney E. King.)
    The Jamestown cooper was a busy craftsman. Many barrels, hogsheads, and casks were needed in the colony, and large quantities of barrel staves were made for shipping to England. (Painting by Sidney E. King.)
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v barrel put in barrels
    • n barrel a cylindrical container that holds liquids
    • n barrel a tube through which a bullet travels when a gun is fired
    • n barrel any of various units of capacity "a barrel of beer is 31 gallons and a barrel of oil is 42 gallons"
    • n barrel the quantity that a barrel (of any size) will hold
    • n barrel a bulging cylindrical shape; hollow with flat ends
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Early musket barrel and gun parts excavated at Jamestown Early musket barrel and gun parts excavated at Jamestown
The elephant carries a heavy barrel The elephant carries a heavy barrel
A double barrelled hammerless shot-gun A double barrelled hammerless shot-gun

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Candy made from pieces of barrel cactus was outlawed in the U.S. in 1952 to protect the species.
    • Barrel A jar.
    • Barrel A metallic tube, as of a gun, from which a projectile is discharged.
    • Barrel 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; as, a cracker barrel . Sometimes applied to a similar cylindrical container made of metal, usually called a drum.
    • Barrel A solid drum, or a hollow cylinder or case; as, the barrel of a windlass; the barrel of a watch, within which the spring is coiled.
    • Barrel (Zoöl) The hollow basal part of a feather.
    • Barrel The quantity which constitutes a full barrel. This varies for different articles and also in different places for the same article, being regulated by custom or by law. A barrel of wine is 311/2 gallons; a barrel of flour is 196 pounds.
    • v. t Barrel băr"rĕl To put or to pack in a barrel or barrels.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In 1916, Jones Wister of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania invented a rifle for shooting around corners. It had a curved barrel and periscopic sights.
    • n barrel A vessel or cask of a cylindrical form, generally bulging in the middle, usually made of wooden staves bound together with hoops, and having flat parallel heads.
    • n barrel As a measure of capacity, the quantity of anything, liquid or solid, which a barrel should contain. In English metrology there were four principal kinds of barrels: the wine-barrel of 31½ wine gallons; the London ale-barrel of 32 beer gallons; the country ale- and beer-barrel of 34 beer gallons; and the London beer-barrel of 36 beer gallons. The wine-barrel was legalized in the reign of Richard III., the others under Henry VIII. Under George III. the barrel of ale or beer for town and country was made 36 gallons. Oil, spirits, tar, and pork were measured by the wine-barrel; vinegar, by the barrel of 34 gallons. A barrel of eels or herrings contained 30 gallons by a statute of Henry VI., but by another of Edward IV. this was made 42 gallons. Salmon and spruce beer were also measured by barrels of 42 gallons. A barrel of beef, wet codfish, or honey contained 32 wine gallons; but honey was sometimes sold by barrels of 42 gallons of 12 pounds each. By a statute of George III., a barrel of fish was made 38 wine gallons; but a barrel of salt pilchards or mackerel measured 50 gallons. The barrel of apples, coal, or nuts contained 3 Winchester bushels, each of 8 gallons, dry measure. The barrel of anchovies contained 16 pounds; of gunpowder, 100 pounds; of raisins, 1 hundredweight; of candles, 120 pounds; of barilla, potash, or butter, 2 hundredweight (but only 106 pounds of Essex butter, and 156 of Sussex); the barrel of soap, 256 pounds. A barrel of plates, by a statute of Charles II., contained 300 pounds. There were besides a great variety of other barrels in Scotland and Ireland. In England the barrel is no longer a legal measure. In the United States the barrel in liquid measure is commonly 31½ gallons, and for solid substances it is generally a unit of weight, a barrel of flour, for example, being 196 pounds, and a barrel of beef or pork 200 pounds. In Maine a barrel of fish is by law 200 pounds. In Louisiana a barrel in dry measure is 3¼ bushels. The bushels vary in different States. On the continent of Europe, previous to the introduction of the metric system, there were many barrels. In each state of Italy the barile for wine was a little smaller than that for oil; they were about 30 to 60 liters. The barril of Normandy was about 60 Paris pintes. The baral of Montpellier was 25⅜ liters; the barrallon of Barcelona, liters; the baril of Riga, 137¾ liters. The barrique was commonly larger than the baril. The abbreviation is bbl., pl. bbls.
    • n barrel The contents of a barrel: sometimes, like bottle, used to signify intoxicating drink.
    • n barrel The money (especially when the sum is large) supplied by a candidate in a political campaign, for campaign expenses, but especially for corrupt purposes: hence, a barrel campaign is one in which money is lavishly employed to bribe voters: in this sense often written and pronounced bar'l (bärl), in humorous imitation of vulgar speech.
    • n barrel Anything resembling a barrel; a drum or cylinder. In particular— The drum or roller in a crane, about which the rope or chain winds.
    • barrel To put or pack in a barrel or barrels: as, to barrel beef, pork, or fish.
    • n barrel In mining, a vessel by which water is lifted by engine or windlass from a sinking-shaft.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Henry Waterman, of New York, invented the elevator in 1850. He intended it to transport barrels of flour.
    • n Barrel bar′el a cylindrical wooden vessel made of curved staves bound with hoops: the quantity which such a vessel contains (36 imperial gallons of ale and beer): a certain weight or quantity of other goods usually sold in casks called barrels: anything long and hollow, as the barrel of a gun, or cylindrical and barrel-shaped
    • v.t Barrel to put in a barrel
    • ***


  • J. P. Donleavy
    J. P. Donleavy
    “When I die I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Dublin.”
  • Abraham Lincoln
    “Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
  • Mao Zedong
    “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
  • William Gilmore Simms
    William Gilmore Simms
    “The proverb answers where the sermon fails, as a well-charged pistol will do more execution than a whole barrel of gunpowder idly exploded in the air.”
  • Mao Zedong
    “Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”


Barrel of laughs - If someone's a barrel of laughs, they are always joking and you find them funny.
Lock, stock and barrel - This is an expressions that means 'everything'; if someone buys a company lock, stock and barrel, they buy absolutely everything to do with the company.
Over a barrel - If someone has you over a barrel, they have you in a position where you have no choice but to accept what they want.
Pork barrel - Pork barrel politics involves investing money in an area to get political support rather than using the money for the common good.
Scraping the barrel - When all the best people, things or ideas and so on are used up and people try to make do with what they have left, they are scraping the barrel.
Shooting fish in a barrel - If something is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is so easy that success is guaranteed.
Stare down the barrel of a gun - If someone is staring down the barrel of a gun, there's a high risk of something very bad happening.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. barel, F. baril, prob. fr. barre, bar. Cf. Barricade


In literature:

Certainly there was a barrel; but, on breaking it open, to the dismay of all, it proved to be a barrel of pitch!
"Ran Away to Sea" by Mayne Reid
Did you fire both barrels?
"Dead Man's Land" by George Manville Fenn
Jerry reloaded his rifle, and jammed shells into his double-barreled shotgun.
"The Camp in the Snow" by William Murray Graydon
We have no well, but Huey hauled two barrels this morning from Crooks's, several miles away.
"Land of the Burnt Thigh" by Edith Eudora Kohl
There he stayed all the rest of the afternoon, knocking old barrels apart, chopping and sawing and hammering.
"The Tale of Snowball Lamb" by Arthur Bailey
Then it was like waiting five minutes more, inside a cannon barrel.
"The Planet Strappers" by Raymond Zinke Gallun
He had a barrel of apple and peach brandy.
"Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4" by Work Projects Administration
Can't you see, one holds by the barrel and reaches down the butt?
"The Peril Finders" by George Manville Fenn
You can light that barrel, and roll it as close up to the enemy as you dare.
"An Undivided Union" by Oliver Optic
It was barely fifty yards from them, and as the explorer fired his second barrel, Charlie pulled trigger also.
"The Rogue Elephant" by Elliott Whitney
Upon a raised platform in the centre of the raft were fastened barrels of beef and bread and casks of fresh water.
"Blackbeard: Buccaneer" by Ralph D. Paine
Its stock was of pine, its lock of polished cast iron, and its barrel of tin.
"The Adventures of Bobby Orde" by Stewart Edward White
On a restless brown pony with a barrel-shaped body, Daoud waited in a line of nearly thirty julbans, Mamelukes in training, similarly mounted.
"The Saracen: Land of the Infidel" by Robert Shea
The Boy clapped an oat-bag over the end of the barrel, and tied it down.
"The Backwoodsmen" by Charles G. D. Roberts
Here were stored the bags and barrels of gunpowder that passed through the trading post.
"Shaman" by Robert Shea
The barrel of the gun is made of a piece of brass rod.
"Boys' Book of Model Boats" by Raymond Francis Yates
The vaulting is executed either with barrel or with cross-groined vaults.
"Byzantine Churches in Constantinople" by Alexander Van Millingen
And now the aeroplane bumped the ground, and the lads stepped out to see a long line of rifle barrels confronting them.
"The Boy Allies with the Cossacks" by Clair W. Hayes
I uster sneak sugar out de barrel to feed Julie.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves." by Work Projects Administration
The barrel should be slightly shaken and filled entirely full.
"Soil Culture" by J. H. Walden

In poetry:

But watching closer
That motionless deadly motion,
That unnatural barrel body, that long ghoul nose, . . .
I left off hailing him.
"Fish" by D H Lawrence
"What ails ye, what ails ye, Fair Annie,
That ye make sic a moan?
Has your wine-barrels cast the girds,
Or is your white bread gone?
"Fair Annie" by Andrew Lang
The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever;
Like barrels with their bellies full,
They only weigh the heavier.
"The Yearly Distress; Or, Tithing-Time At Stock In Essex" by William Cowper
And so he sat cleaning his musket
And polishing barrel and butt.
While the pudding his mother had sent him,
Lay there in the mud at his foot.
"Sam's Christmas Pudding" by Marriott Edgar
I’d rather be handsome than homely;
I’d rather be youthful than old;
If I can’t have a bushel of silver
I’ll do with a barrel of gold.
"Contentment" by James Jeffrey Roche
They'd had 'em inspected that morning
And Sam had got into disgrace,
For when sergeant had looked down the barrel
A sparrow flew out in his face.
"Sam's Christmas Pudding" by Marriott Edgar

In news:

Beautiful lineups and dredging barrels from the coast of Spain more.
Green River shale's trillions of barrels of oil disproves peak oil, author says.
The small city of Gretna is showing off its new barrel racing arena.
A beach party, Gaia and Smoke and Barrel's birthday bash.
In addition to her background in grooming , Strittmatter is a retired barrel race rider and she as 12 horses of her own, which she brought with her from California.
North East's double-barreled ground-pounding machine of Rocky Owens and Corey Voorhis was just too much for Girard to handle on Friday.
Ceramic Coated Aluminum Barrel Brushes by Marilyn Brush.
It's official: Applebee's coming to Gun Barrel City.
Trip to The Gun Barrel Steak and Game House.
The circus is coming to Gun Barrel City.
Prosecutor calls Simon 'trigger-happy,' says he might have swapped gun barrel .
Gun Barrel City is back with their second annual GBC July Fest and Concert in the Park and this year it will be taking place at their brand new pavilion.
Straydog Inc Gun Barrel City.
If someone wants to have rain barrels installed, we'll do that.
Richard Tovell wasn't alive on Nov 5, 1605, the day Guy Fawkes was foiled from blowing up Parliament in England with dozens of gunpowder barrels.

In science:

For the clusters at the ends of the ECAL barrel, pixel disks are needed as well as barrel pixel layers.
The CMS High Level Trigger
For endcap clusters the mix of pixel barrel and pixel disk hits depends on both the pseudorapidity and the z -vertex of the electron.
The CMS High Level Trigger
The outer barrel layer and the outermost endcap disks of the pixel detector is staged and may not be present at the start-up of the experiment.
The CMS High Level Trigger
Speciflcally, for the studies discussed below the following selection cuts were applied: E =P < 1.5 (2.45) for the barrel (end cap), H/E < 0.028 in the endcap, and in the barrel a track/ECAL position match in · (¢·(track - cluster) < 0:028).
The CMS High Level Trigger
In the barrel chambers, reconstructed track segments are used as measurements in the Kalman fllter procedure; in the endcap chambers, where the magnetic fleld is inhomogeneous, it is the individual reconstructed hits belonging to the track segments that are used.
The CMS High Level Trigger
GeV/c out of the barrel and into the endcap region of the calorimeter.
The CMS High Level Trigger
The nominal pixel detector conflguration with three barrel layers and two forward disks is referred to as the full pixel detector whereas the start-up detector with only two barrel layers and one forward disk is referred to as the staged pixel detector conflguration.
The CMS High Level Trigger
The muon trigger is further organized into subsystems representing the three difierent muon detector systems, the Drift Tube trigger (DT) in the barrel, the Cathode Strip Chamber (CSC) trigger in the endcap and the Resistive Plate Chamber (RPC) trigger covering both barrel and endcap.
The CMS High Level Trigger
Both in the barrel and in the endcap the boundaries of ECAL and HCAL trigger towers follow each other.
The CMS High Level Trigger
Each trigger tower in the barrel corresponds to the · ; ` size of an HCAL physical tower and the HCAL tower trigger energy is the sum of the flrst two inner longitudinal segments.
The CMS High Level Trigger
In the barrel-endcap transition region, barrel and endcap segments are summed together.
The CMS High Level Trigger
Calorimeter trigger tower layout in one ECAL half-barrel supermodule.
The CMS High Level Trigger
The ECAL trigger cell ET is the sum of the ET of 5 £ 5 crystals in the barrel and a variable number of crystals in the endcap.
The CMS High Level Trigger
The ET triggers use the transverse energy sums (Em+Had) computed in calorimeter regions (4£4 trigger towers in barrel and endcap).
The CMS High Level Trigger
The muon measurement at CMS is performed by Drift Tubes (DT) located outside the magnet coil in the barrel region and cathode Strip Chambers (CSC) in the endcap region.
The CMS High Level Trigger