Definition of barrelhouse in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈberəlˌhous/


1North American A cheap or disreputable bar.
Example sentences
  • There are some eye-opening glimpses into the business of recording, musical discoveries with amplification, sharecropping life, and the get-down funkiness of the juke joints and barrelhouses.
  • As an itinerant musician in his early life, Pickens played in barrelhouses across the southern states.
  • He soon began to work in barrelhouses and jukes in Helena, Arkansas often working with pianist Lee Green.
2 [usually as modifier] An unrestrained and unsophisticated style of jazz music.
Example sentences
  • Gelb stays away from jazz or barrelhouse blues, preferring to stay in the classically influenced realm with a few diversions into Kurt Weill territory and that of movie soundtracks.
  • The results are a delirious jumpcut odyssey where fragments of styles collide and splinter apart; ambient drones, barrelhouse piano, funk, jazz, even a snatch of ‘Roll Out the Barrel’ played on an accordion.
  • Of course round these parts we all love Mr Holland, with his cheeky east-end banter and barrelhouse joanna-thumping style.


Late 19th century: so named because of the rows of barrels along the walls of such a bar.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bar·rel·house

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