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[bahr-ber-shop] /ˈbɑr bərˌʃɒp/
Also called, especially British, barber's shop. the place of business of a barber.
the singing of four-part harmony in barbershop style or the music sung in this style.
specializing in the unaccompanied part-singing of popular songs in which four voices move in close, highly chromatic harmony:
a barbershop quartet.
characteristic of such part-singing.
Origin of barbershop
1570-80; barber + shop Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for barber-shop
Historical Examples
  • From this he had risen one step and become porter and messenger in a barber-shop.

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • "And then to a barber-shop with him," went on Mrs. Effie, who had paid no heed to his outburst.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • They were standing at a front window, watching Matthews cross the parade-ground to the barber-shop.

    The Plow-Woman Eleanor Gates
  • Right abreast the post-office; Henry Cahoon has been usin' it for a barber-shop.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Flynn was intensely proud and fond of the establishment, and was insulted if it was alluded to as a barber-shop.

    The Debtor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • I saw a barber-shop with chairs, niches for the soap and mugs, and the waiting sofa.

    Reminiscences Hans Mattson
  • They had moved along the street until they reached a barber-shop, from which proceeded the sound of a violin.

  • He resolved to be on the lookout that day for a barber-shop set.

    Merton of the Movies Harry Leon Wilson
  • A little way they walked in silence, the light of the barber-shop falling across the road ahead of them.

  • You'll find a barber-shop and a bootblack around the corner.

British Dictionary definitions for barber-shop


(mainly US) the premises of a barber
(modifier) denoting or characterized by a type of close four-part harmony for male voices, popular in romantic and sentimental songs of the 1920s and 1930s: a barbershop quartet
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 barber-shop

1570s, from barber + shop (n.). Earlier in same sense was barbery (c.1500). Barber-shop in reference to close harmony male vocal quartets, it is attested from 1910; the custom of barber's keeping a musical instrument in their shops so waiting customers could entertain themselves is an old one, but the musical product had a low reputation and barber's music (c.1660) was "wretched, poorly performed music."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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