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[bahr-bi-kyoo] /ˈbɑr bɪˌkyu/
pieces of beef, fowl, fish, or the like, roasted over an open hearth, especially when basted in a barbecue sauce.
a framework, as a grill or a spit, or a fireplace for cooking meat or vegetables over an open fire.
a dressed steer, lamb, or other animal, roasted whole.
a meal, usually in the open air and often as a political or social gathering, at which meats are roasted over an open hearth or pit.
verb (used with object), barbecued, barbecuing.
to broil or roast whole or in large pieces over an open fire, on a spit or grill, often seasoning with vinegar, spices, salt, and pepper.
to cook (sliced or diced meat or fish) in a highly seasoned sauce.
verb (used without object), barbecued, barbecuing.
to cook by barbecuing or to entertain at a barbecue:
If the weather's nice, we'll barbecue in the backyard.
Origin of barbecue
1655-65; < Spanish barbacoa < Arawak (perhaps Taino) barbacoa a raised frame of sticks
Related forms
barbecuer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for barbecue
  • It is officially barbecue season or, for those to whom barbecue means burying a pig in a hole in the ground, grill season.
  • Tomorrow's noon meal, the one at the end of my shift, should be a barbecue.
  • Real, slow-cooked barbecue takes time, but this dish is truly worth it.
  • Wearing barbecue mitts, remove pan from grill and gently shake asparagus in pan until oil coats bottom and sides of pan evenly.
  • Or roll the scapes in olive oil, then throw them onto the barbecue grill briefly.
  • We cooked in a microwave and used a camp stove or our gas barbecue.
  • If he doesn't, pull out the barbecue grill to celebrate an early spring.
  • Remove the top part of shell and brush clam tops with barbecue sauce.
  • Serving barbecue to the media was probably the smarter strategy.
  • Home for the night is a sandy beach where guides barbecue steaks, chicken, or ribs over a fire.
British Dictionary definitions for barbecue


a meal cooked out of doors over an open fire
an outdoor party or picnic at which barbecued food is served
a grill or fireplace used in barbecuing
the food so cooked
verb (transitive) -cues, -cuing, -cued
to cook (meat, fish, etc) on a grill, usually over charcoal and often with a highly seasoned sauce
to cook (meat, fish, etc) in a highly seasoned sauce
Word Origin
C17: from American Spanish barbacoa, probably from Taino: frame made of sticks
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barbecue

1650s, "framework for grilling meat, fish, etc.," from American Spanish barbacoa, from Arawakan (Haiti) barbakoa "framework of sticks," the raised wooden structure the Indians used to either sleep on or cure meat. Sense of "outdoor meal of roasted meat or fish as a social entertainment" is from 1733; modern popular noun sense of "grill for cooking over an open fire" is from 1931.


1660s, from barbecue (n.). Related: Barbecued; barbecuing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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