There are 2 definitions of bar in English:


Syllabification: bar
Pronunciation: /bär


1A long rod or rigid piece of wood, metal, or similar material, typically used as an obstruction, fastening, or weapon.
More example sentences
  • ‘I have had iron bars, lumps of wood, bottles, stones and even on old bath thrown into my garden,’ she added.
  • A gang of youths terrified bus passengers in Leeds last night after going on the rampage with weapons including an iron bar and a bat.
  • The door was tall wood with metal bars supporting it.
rod, pole, stick, batten, shaft, rail, paling, spar, strut, crosspiece, beam
1.1An amount of food or another substance formed into a regular narrow block: a bar of chocolate gold bars
More example sentences
  • One young man had his life dramatically changed by the tour as he entered the vegan lifestyle, departing from a life of meat, chocolate bars, and fast food.
  • He bought an orange and a bar of chocolate, and glanced over a newspaper.
  • You remove it from its confines and caress and touch it as if it's a bar of gold.
block, slab, cake, tablet, brick, loaf, wedge, ingot
1.2A band of color or light, especially on a flat surface: bars of sunlight shafting through the broken windows
More example sentences
  • His monumental canvases, with their interlocking bars of earthy colour, reflect his early life as well as later influences.
  • He pulled on the headlights, and the beams cut into the darkness, solid bars of light in the smoke-filled air.
  • I look at the bars of light coming in through the blind.
1.3 see crossbar.
1.4A sandbank or shoal at the mouth of a harbor, bay, or estuary.
More example sentences
  • That means thousands of boaters who rely on these multiple-use ports face the bleak prospect of shoaling channels and dangerous bars at river mouths.
  • Many of the rivers had bars at their mouths and navigation was hazardous: over the years a number of ships were lost as a result.
  • Trout in particular spawn in the fall and can be found in deep water at this time. You can find them on bars, shoals, rocks and fingers.
1.5British A rail marking the end of each chamber in the Houses of Parliament.
More example sentences
  • If agreed, a member is ordered by the House to go to the bar of the House of Lords.
  • At the other end of the chamber is the bar, at which the members of the Commons attend to hear the speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament.
  • An inscription on the wall towards the west end shows the position of the Bar of the old House, by which the Lobby was marked off from the Chamber itself.
1.6 Heraldry A charge in the form of a narrow horizontal stripe across the shield.
More example sentences
  • The barrulet is the heraldic diminutive of the bar, and is generally one fourth the width of the bar.
  • It may be noted that a bar is never shown alone; there are always two or more.
2A counter across which alcoholic drinks or refreshments are served.
More example sentences
  • He'll help with your bags, crack jokes, invite you to eat breakfast on his porch and - if things get busy - let you serve drinks at the bar.
  • Her joy turned to dismay as he walked round to the other side of the bar, served her drink, took her money and then served the next customer.
  • She insisted that she had agreed to come to St Lucia to serve drinks behind a bar, nothing else.
counter, table, buffet, stand
2.1A room in a restaurant or hotel in which alcohol is served.
More example sentences
  • Away from hotel bars, hotel rooms and suburban shopping centres, the England squad are a well-behaved bunch and as such have made no lasting enemies on the pitch.
  • The hotel will feature meeting rooms, a restaurant and lounge, hotel bar, function rooms and a leisure centre.
  • The rest of the hotel comprises a main bar, lounge, dining room, function room and main kitchen.
2.2An establishment where alcohol and sometimes other refreshments are served.
More example sentences
  • Your new alcohol policy would allow bars to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • There's a busy nightlife in the area, with many bars and clubs open into the early hours.
  • Over the last ten years Belfast has undergone some major cosmetic surgery and new pubs and bars have opened while existing ones have expanded.
2.3 [usually with modifier] A small store or booth serving refreshments or providing a service: a dairy bar
More example sentences
  • In clothes stores, sandwich bars, gyms and coffee shops we face a constant barrage of background music - music we notice but rarely listen to.
  • The space can be subdivided for use as a convenience store and coffee shop or a sandwich bar.
  • Our city needs thriving locals far more than it needs another video shop or burger bar.
3A barrier or restriction to an action or advance: political differences are not necessarily a bar to a good relationship
More example sentences
  • The trust's acquisition of the buildings would not be a bar to such moves, as the organisation frequently has tenants in its buildings.
  • It was the first time the church's most senior cleric had said that the sexuality of ministers should not act as a bar to their appointment.
  • He also insisted his privileged background would not act as a bar to winning over new Conservative supporters in Scotland.
4 Music A measure of music or the time of a piece of music.
More example sentences
  • He magically evoked the Alpine mystery of the score's opening bars.
  • Only the bass line and six bars of melody had survived, possibly from the slow movement of a Trio Sonata.
  • When the last bars of the music had died away, he shouted, ‘Sing that again!’
5 (the bar) A partition in a courtroom or legislative assembly, now usually notional, beyond which most people may not pass and, in court, at which an accused person stands: the prisoner at the bar he had to appear at the Bar of the House for a reprimand by the Speaker
More example sentences
  • His handling of the funds when they did arrive gave rise to vigorous debate at the bar.
  • The lawyers sit at the bar table facing the magistrate and the defendant sits with his or her lawyer.
  • In an unprecedented move Magistrate Nicholas got up from the bench and sat at the bar table with the witness and the accused.
5.1A plea arresting an action or claim in a law case.
More example sentences
  • The plaintiff was advised of the statutory bar to his claim by letter in October 2001, but proceeded anyway.
  • But that is a practical problem which cannot constitute a legal bar on a claim.
  • In that sense, section 10 constituted only a procedural bar to his claim.
5.2A particular court of law.
More example sentences
  • He was admitted to the Bar of Western Australia at the Supreme Court in Perth on November 2.
6 (the Bar) The legal profession.
More example sentences
  • He was a Junior Counsel in 1968, Senior Counsel in 1982, and was called to the English Bar in 1981.
  • He didn't like the law and was never called to the Bar.
  • The same year he would be called to the bar and later established a small practice in Montreal.
6.1North American Lawyers collectively.
6.2British Barristers collectively.
More example sentences
  • The Bar Council provides representation and services for the Bar, and guidance on issues of professional practice.
  • The senior judges in England and Wales are drawn almost exclusively from the Bar.

verb (bars, barring, barred)

[with object] Back to top  
1Fasten (something, especially a door or window) with a bar or bars: she bolts and bars the door
More example sentences
  • The rest of you will remain here, bar the doors and windows, and afterwards stay well away from the windows.
  • We quickly shut and barred the two doors and the window, and dispatched the three hornets that followed us in.
  • The doors had been barred shut, then pried open, allowing us to slip inside.
bolt, lock, fasten, secure, block, barricade, obstruct
2Prevent or forbid the entrance or movement of: boulders barred her passage she was barred from a men-only dinner
More example sentences
  • The 1986 World Cup hero was barred from leaving Argentina after family members blocked his early efforts to return to Cuba.
  • Another measure to limit consumption was a return to the ‘carless’ days of the late 1970s when one day a week a vehicle owner was barred from using his or her car.
  • He spoke out after two frail and elderly patients were left alone and distressed waiting hours for ambulances to take them home after their wives were barred from travelling with them.
2.1Prohibit (someone) from doing something: journalists had been barred from covering the elections
2.2Forbid (an activity) to someone: the job she loved had been barred to her
More example sentences
  • So it can come as a shock to discover that some of these activities can be barred to them as the years slip by.
  • There is now hardly any sphere of activity legally barred to women and, in this sense, every male bastion has been stormed.
  • He does not smoke, drink or take drugs, so those recourses would have been barred to him.
2.3Exclude (something) from consideration: nothing is barred in the crime novel
More example sentences
  • These issues are barred from consideration by this Court.
  • In 1984 Congress undercut the exclusionary rule which barred evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • Nothing is barred from consideration as long as it does not obtrude into the lives of others.
2.4 Law Prevent or delay (an action) by objection.
More example sentences
  • If I were wrong in my conclusion that on the principal claims Mr Shaker had no cause of action, the proceedings would still be barred on the basis that the damages were purely reflective of the company's loss.
  • For one thing, if she waits, her claim might end up being barred by the statute of limitations.
  • In any event, any new claim by the company would be barred by limitation as it is well over six years since the events giving rise to any claim.
3Mark (something) with bars or stripes: his face was barred with light
More example sentences
  • The backs and wings of females are finely barred with light and dark brown.
  • Its back is speckled with light markings, and its tail is barred with black.
  • The upperparts are brown with a black patch streaked with white, and the tail is barred with black.


chiefly British Back to top  
Except for; apart from: everyone, bar a few ascetics, thinks it desirable
More example sentences
  • He has started every league game bar one.
  • ‘Well that would be nice,’ he replies, enigmatic bar the faint hint of a smile.
  • Here, on just four walls, is as good a cross-section of post-war figurative art as you are ever likely to see in any gallery bar the Tate.


Middle English: from Old French barre (noun), barrer (verb), of unknown origin.


bar none

With no exceptions: the greatest living American poet bar none
More example sentences
  • He was the greatest player I ever played with, in any position, bar none.
  • At the moment he's the team's most consistent performer, bar none.
  • He said it was the best album he's ever heard in his life bar none.

behind bars

In prison.
More example sentences
  • He speaks about his life of crime, his wasted years behind bars and his hopes for the future.
  • If you speak out, you can provide the evidence that the police need to put criminals behind bars.
  • It should not be the rule of the thumb that any offender has to end up behind bars, whether in a police cell or prison.

lower (or raise or lift) the bar

Lower (or raise) the standards that need to be met in order to qualify for something: they have drastically lowered the bar for anyone who wants to call themselves a musician
More example sentences
  • Ivan Fischer is the person, once a relationship is cultivated, to raise the bar.
  • However, with your latest project, you really are raising the bar.
  • Linkin Park have raised the bar high for hook laden pop metal.



barred windows birds with barred breasts [in combination]: a five-barred gate

Definition of bar in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day glee
Pronunciation: gliː
great delight, especially from one's own good fortune…

There are 2 definitions of bar in English:


Syllabification: bar
Pronunciation: /


A unit of pressure equivalent to 100,000 newtons per square meter or approximately one atmosphere.
More example sentences
  • Nevertheless, to the diver, it still affords a fascinating glimpse of another world - a world so incredibly shallow that it is difficult to surface without at least a hundred bars.
  • In both cars, an electric pump compresses air into the tank at a pressure of 300 bars.
  • Seals were water-tight even at pressures of several bars, but did not interrupt water flow in the xylem.


early 20th century: from Greek baros 'weight'.

Definition of bar in: