Definition of barbecue in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɑːbɪkjuː/
(also barbeque)


1A meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance: in the evening there was a barbecue [as modifier]: a barbecue area
More example sentences
  • On my last day in Australia, my parents cooked me a barbecue in their backyard barbecue area.
  • At a barbecue food is cooked on a rusty grill which birds have probably used as a toilet on a daily basis since last summer.
  • There are less formal meals, picnics and barbecues and the forthcoming brunch is one of these occasions.
meal cooked outdoors, … roast;
North American  cookout;
South African  braaivleis;
New Zealand  hangi
informal BBQ
Australian informal barbie
1.1A rack or appliance used for the preparation of food at a barbecue: food was placed to sizzle on the barbecue
More example sentences
  • Consider cooking on an outside barbecue grill or use a microwave oven, which does not generate as much heat and uses less energy than a gas or electric range.
  • Complement your healthy summer lifestyle with fresh food cooked on the barbecue.
  • The women all cook together on dow tarns - wood fire barbecues out the back.
grill, rotisserie;
North American  brazier;
in Japan hibachi
1.2 [mass noun] North American Food cooked on a barbecue: all the barbecue he could eat
More example sentences
  • Throughout the weekend, club members and their families came by to eat barbecue and many side dishes.
  • We would be eating pizza or barbecue food, not spaghetti by candlelight.
  • Wade, is it true that you had eaten barbecue, were throwing up over people, had a broken arm, and it was gushing blood, all while you were playing?

verb (barbecues, barbecuing, barbecued)

[with object]
Cook (food) on a barbecue: fish barbecued with herbs (as adjective barbecued) barbecued chicken
More example sentences
  • While Stephen and Louis sat down on the sand drinking beer and talking, Jessica and Cecilia took turns in barbecuing the yummy food.
  • Dad barbecued some steaks, and Mom made potato salad and corn on the cob.
  • When the American Institute for Cancer Research issued guidelines for barbecuing meat safely, this somehow reminded Corcoran of the Nazi era.
cook outdoors, grill, spit-roast;
North American  broil, charbroil


Mid 17th century: from Spanish barbacoa, perhaps from Arawak barbacoa 'wooden frame on posts'. The original sense was 'wooden framework for sleeping on, or for storing meat or fish to be dried'.

  • This word comes from Spanish barbacoa, perhaps from Arawak (West Indies) barbacoa which was a ‘wooden frame on posts’. Barbecue is used in space in the phrases barbecue mode and barbecue manoeuvre describing the rotation of a spacecraft to allow the heat of the sun to fall on all sides.

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