behind bars


1 [bahr]
a relatively long, evenly shaped piece of some solid substance, as metal or wood, used as a guard or obstruction or for some mechanical purpose: the bars of a cage.
an oblong piece of any solid material: a bar of soap; a candy bar.
the amount of material in a bar.
an ingot, lump, or wedge of gold or silver.
a long ridge of sand, gravel, or other material near or slightly above the surface of the water at or near the mouth of a river or harbor entrance, often constituting an obstruction to navigation.
anything that obstructs, hinders, or impedes; obstacle; barrier: a bar to important legislation.
a counter or place where beverages, especially liquors, or light meals are served to customers: a snack bar; a milk bar.
a barroom or tavern.
(in a home) a counter, small wagon, or similar piece of furniture for serving food or beverages: a breakfast bar.
the legal profession.
the practicing members of the legal profession in a given community.
any tribunal: the bar of public opinion.
a band or strip: a bar of light.
a railing in a courtroom separating the general public from the part of the room occupied by the judges, jury, attorneys, etc.
a crowbar.
Also called bar line. the line marking the division between two measures of music.
the unit of music contained between two bar lines; measure.
Ballet. barre.
an objection that nullifies an action or claim.
a stoppage or defeat of an alleged right of action.
Typography. a horizontal stroke of a type character, as of an A, H, t, and sometimes e.
Architecture. (in tracery) a relatively long and slender upright of stone treated as a colonette or molded.
Building Trades.
an iron or steel shape: I-bar.
a muntin.
Military. one of a pair of metal or cloth insignia worn by certain commissioned officers.
bars, the transverse ridges on the roof of the mouth of a horse.
a space between the molar and canine teeth of a horse into which the bit is fitted.
(in a bridle) the mouthpiece connecting the cheeks.
bride2 ( def 1 ).
Heraldry. a horizontal band, narrower than a fess, that crosses the field of an escutcheon.
Obsolete. a gateway capable of being barred.
verb (used with object), barred, barring.
to equip or fasten with a bar or bars: Bar the door before retiring for the night.
to block by or as if by bars: The police barred the exits in an attempt to prevent the thief's escape.
to prevent or hinder: They barred her entrance to the club.
to exclude or except: He was barred from membership because of his reputation.
to mark with bars,ŋ stripes, or bands.
except; omitting; but: bar none.
at bar, Law.
before the court and being tried: a case at bar.
before all the judges of a court: a trial at bar.
behind bars, in jail: We wanted the criminal behind bars.

1175–1225; Middle English barre < Old French < Vulgar Latin *barra rod, of obscure, perhaps of pre-Latin orig.

barless, adjective
barrable, adjective
unbarrable, adjective

1. rod, pole. 5. shoal, reef, bank, sand bar. 6. deterrent, stop. Bar, barrier, barricade mean something put in the way of advance. Bar has the general meaning of hindrance or obstruction: a bar across the doorway. Barrier suggests an impediment to progress or a defensive obstruction (natural or artificial): a trade barrier; a mountain barrier; a road barrier. A barricade is especially a pile of articles hastily gathered or a rude earthwork for protection in street fighting: a barricade of wooden boxes. 7. saloon, café; cocktail lounge. 30, 31. obstruct, deter, impede, barricade. 32. eliminate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bar1 (bɑː)
1.  a rigid usually straight length of metal, wood, etc, that is longer than it is wide or thick, used esp as a barrier or as a structural or mechanical part: a bar of a gate
2.  a solid usually rectangular block of any material: a bar of soap
3.  anything that obstructs or prevents
4.  a.  an offshore ridge of sand, mud, or shingle lying near the shore and parallel to it, across the mouth of a river, bay, or harbour, or linking an island to the mainland
 b.  (US), (Canadian) an alluvial deposit in a stream, river, or lake
5.  a counter or room where alcoholic drinks are served
6.  a counter, room, or establishment where a particular range of goods, food, services, etc, are sold: a coffee bar; a heel bar
7.  a narrow band or stripe, as of colour or light
8.  a heating element in an electric fire
9.  See also Bar (in England) the area in a court of law separating the part reserved for the bench and Queen's Counsel from the area occupied by junior barristers, solicitors, and the general public
10.  the place in a court of law where the accused stands during his trial: the prisoner at the bar
11.  a particular court of law
12.  (Brit) (in the House of Lords and House of Commons) the boundary where nonmembers wishing to address either House appear and where persons are arraigned
13.  a plea showing that a plaintiff has no cause of action, as when the case has already been adjudicated upon or the time allowed for bringing the action has passed
14.  anything referred to as an authority or tribunal: the bar of decency
15.  music Also called: measure
 a.  a group of beats that is repeated with a consistent rhythm throughout a piece or passage of music. The number of beats in the bar is indicated by the time signature
 b.  another word for bar line
16.  a.  (Brit) insignia added to a decoration indicating a second award
 b.  (US) a strip of metal worn with uniform, esp to signify rank or as an award for service
17.  a variant spelling of barre
18.  sport See crossbar
19.  gymnastics See horizontal bar
20.  a.  part of the metal mouthpiece of a horse's bridle
 b.  the space between the horse's teeth in which such a part fits
21.  either of two horny extensions that project forwards and inwards from the rear of the outer layer of a horse's hoof
22.  crowbar See glazing-bar
23.  lacemaking, needlework another name for bride
24.  heraldry an ordinary consisting of a horizontal line across a shield, typically narrower than a fesse, and usually appearing in twos or threes
25.  maths a superscript line ⁻ placed over a letter symbol to indicate, for example, a mean value or the complex conjugate of a complex number
26.  behind bars in prison
27.  informal (Austral), (NZ) won't have a bar of, wouldn't have a bar of cannot tolerate; dislike
vb , bars, barring, barred
28.  to fasten or secure with a bar: to bar the door
29.  to shut in or out with or as if with barriers: to bar the entrances
30.  to obstruct; hinder: the fallen tree barred the road
31.  (usually foll by from) to prohibit; forbid: to bar a couple from meeting
32.  (usually foll by from) to keep out; exclude: to bar a person from membership
33.  to mark with a bar or bars
34.  law to prevent or halt (an action) by showing that the claimant has no cause
35.  to mark off (music) into bars with bar lines
36.  except for: the best recital bar last night's
37.  bar none without exception
[C12: from Old French barre, from Vulgar Latin barra (unattested) bar, rod, of unknown origin]

bar2 (bɑː)
a cgs unit of pressure equal to 106 dynes per square centimetre. 1 bar is equivalent to 105 newtons per square metre
[C20: from Greek baros weight]

bar3 (bɑː)
1.  immunity from being caught or otherwise penalized in a game
2.  a cry for such immunity
[variant of barley²]

Bar (bɑː)
1.  (in England and elsewhere) barristers collectively
2.  (US) the legal profession collectively
3.  (Brit) be called to the Bar to become a barrister
4.  (Brit) be called within the Bar to be appointed as a Queen's Counsel

abbreviation for
Browning Automatic Rifle

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 12c., "stake or rod of iron used to fasten a door or gate," from O.Fr. barre (12c.) "beam, bar, gate, barrier," from V.L. *barra "bar, barrier," which some suggest is from Gaulish *barros "the bushy end" [Gamillscheg], but OED regards this as "discredited" because it "in no way suits the sense."
Of soap, by 1833; of candy, by 1906 (the process itself dates to the 1840s). Meaning "bank of sand across a harbor or river mouth" is from 1580s, probably so called because it was an obstruction to navigation. Bar graph is attested from 1925. Bar code first recorded 1963. Behind bars "in prison" is attested by 1934, U.S.

"tavern," 1590s, so called in reference to the bars of the barrier or counter over which drinks or food were served to customers (see bar (1)). Barmaid is from 1772; barfly "habitual drunkard" is from 1910.

"whole body of lawyers, the legal profession," 1550s, a sense which derives ultimately from the railing that separated benchers from the hall in the Inns of Court. Students who had attained a certain standing were "called" to it to take part in the important exercises of the house. After c.1600, however,
this was popularly assumed to mean the bar in a courtroom, which was the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge's seat, where prisoners stood for arraignment and where a barrister (q.v.) stood to plead. As the place where the business of court was done, bar in this sense had become synonymous with "court" by early 14c.

unit of pressure, coined 1903 from Gk. baros "weight," from barys "heavy" (see grave (adj.)).

c.1300, "to fasten (a gate, etc.) with a bar," from bar (1); sense of "to obstruct, prevent" is recorded by 1570s. Expression bar none "without exception" is recorded from 1866.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

bar (bär)

  1. The international unit of pressure equal to 1 megadyne (106 dyne) per square centimeter or 0.987 atmosphere.

  2. A metal segment of greater length than width which serves to connect two or more parts of a removable partial denture.

  3. A segment of tissue or a tight cellular junction that serves to constrict the passage of fluid, usually urine.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
bar   (bär)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A unit used to measure atmospheric pressure. It is equal to a force of 100,000 newtons per square meter of surface area, or 0.987 atmosphere.

  2. An elongated, offshore ridge of sand, gravel, or other unconsolidated sediment, formed by the action of waves or long-shore currents and submerged at least during high tide. Bars are especially common near the mouths of rivers or estuaries.

  3. A ridgelike mound of sand, gravel or silt formed within a stream, along its banks, or at its mouth. Bars form where the stream's current slows down, causing sediment to be deposited.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Browning Automatic Rifle
Bachelor of Architecture
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Bar definition

used to denote the means by which a door is bolted (Neh. 3:3); a rock in the sea (Jonah 2:6); the shore of the sea (Job 38:10); strong fortifications and powerful impediments, etc. (Isa. 45:2; Amos 1:5); defences of a city (1 Kings 4:13). A bar for a door was of iron (Isa. 45:2), brass (Ps. 107:16), or wood (Nah. 3:13).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

behind bars

In prison, as in All murderers should be put behind bars for life. The bars here refer to the iron rods used to confine prisoners. [c. 1900]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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