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Meaning of barrel

bar•rel

Pronunciation: (bar'ul), [key]
— n., v., -reled, -rel•ing -relled, -rel•ling.
—n.
  1. a cylindrical wooden container with slightly bulging sides made of staves hooped together, and with flat, parallel ends.
  2. the quantity that such a vessel of some standard size can hold: for most liquids, 31 U.S. gallons (119 L); for petroleum, 42 U.S. gallons (159 L); for dry materials, 105 U.S. dry quarts (115 L). Abbr.: bbl
  3. any large quantity: a barrel of fun.
  4. any container, case, or part similar to a wooden barrel in form.
  5. the tube of a gun.
  6. the chamber of a pump in which the piston works.
  7. a drum turning on a shaft, as in a weight-driven clock.
  8. the cylindrical case in a watch or clock within which the mainspring is coiled.
  9. a calamus or quill.
  10. the trunk of a quadruped, esp. of a horse, cow, etc.
  11. the main portion of a capstan, about which the rope winds, between the drumhead at the top and the pawl rim at the bottom.
  12. a rotating horizontal cylinder in which manufactured objects are coated or polished by tumbling in a suitable substance.
  13. any structure having the form of a barrel vault.
  14. Also calleda passageway in a carburetor that has the shape of a Venturi tube.
  15. in a helpless, weak, or awkward position; unable to act: They really had us over a barrel when they foreclosed the mortgage.
—v.t.
  1. to put or pack in a barrel or barrels.
  2. to finish (metal parts) by tumbling in a barrel.
  3. to force to go or proceed at high speed: He barreled his car through the dense traffic.
—v.i.
  1. to travel or drive very fast: to barrel along the highway.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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