Meaning of BAR in English

I. bar 1 S1 W1 /bɑː $ bɑːr/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: barre ]


a) a place where alcoholic drinks are served ⇨ pub :

The hotel has a licensed bar.

a cocktail bar

b) British English one of the rooms inside a pub:

The public bar was crowded.

2 . PLACE TO BUY DRINK a ↑ counter where alcoholic drinks are served:

They stood at the bar.

3 . a wine/coffee/snack etc bar a place where a particular kind of food or drink is served

4 . a breakfast bar British English a place in your kitchen at home where you eat breakfast or a quick meal

5 . BLOCK SHAPE a small block of solid material that is longer than it is wide:

a chocolate bar

a candy bar

bar of

a bar of soap

6 . PIECE OF METAL/WOOD a length of metal or wood put across a door, window etc to keep it shut or to prevent people going in or out:

houses with bars across the windows

7 . behind bars informal in prison:

Her killer was finally put behind bars.

8 . MUSIC a group of notes and ↑ rest s , separated from other groups by vertical lines, into which a line of written music is divided:

a few bars of the song

9 . bar to (doing) something written something that prevents you from achieving something that you want:

I could see no bar to our happiness.

10 . the bar

a) British English the group of people who are ↑ barrister s

b) American English an organization consisting of lawyers

11 . be called to the bar

a) British English to become a ↑ barrister

b) American English to become a lawyer

12 . ON COMPUTER SCREEN a long narrow shape along the sides or at the top of a computer screen, usually containing signs that you can ↑ click on:

the main menu bar at the top of the screen

the toolbar

⇨ ↑ scroll bar

13 . IN SPORTS the long piece of wood or metal across the top of the goal in sports such as football:

The ball hit the bar.

14 . PILE OF SAND/STONES a long pile of sand or stones under the water at the entrance to a ↑ harbour

15 . COLOUR/LIGHT a narrow band of colour or light

16 . UNIFORMS a narrow band of metal or cloth worn on a military uniform to show rank

17 . HEATER British English the part of an electric heater that provides heat and has a red light

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ types of bar

▪ a wine bar (=a bar selling mostly wine, in contrast to a pub)

He asked her to meet him in a trendy wine bar.

▪ a coffee bar

We met up in the student coffee bar.

▪ a sandwich/snack bar (=an informal restaurant or shop selling sandwiches/snacks)

I usually get some lunch from the sandwich bar.

▪ a burger bar (=an informal restaurant selling burgers and fast food)

The kids all hang out at the local burger bar.

▪ a juice bar (=a place selling fruit juices, usually freshly made)

The leisure centre also has a restaurant and a juice bar.

▪ a sushi bar (=a bar or informal restaurant selling sushi)

Have you tried that new sushi bar in town?

▪ a tapas bar (=a bar or informal restaurant serving small dishes of Spanish food)

Madrid is full of great tapas bars.

▪ a salad bar (=a part of a restaurant where you can serve yourself to a range of salads )

When you’ve chosen your pizza, please help yourself from the salad bar.

• • •


▪ bar a place where people go to buy and drink alcoholic drinks:

A man went into a bar and ordered a drink.


Let’s meet up in the hotel bar.


The city centre is full of wine bars and restaurants.


The club has a restaurant and a cocktail bar.

▪ pub a building in Britain where alcohol can be bought and drunk, and where meals are often served:

Do you fancy going to the pub?


a country pub

▪ public house British English formal a pub:

The fight took place outside a public house in the city centre.

▪ sb’s local informal a pub near where you live, especially one you often go to:

The Red Lion’s my local.

▪ inn a small hotel or pub, especially an old one in the countryside – often used in the name of the hotel or pub:

The Bull Inn dates back to the 15th century.


The hotel was once a 17th century coaching inn (=used by people travelling by coach and horses) .

▪ gastropub a pub that is known to serve very good food:

a gastropub with a riverside restaurant


the Windmill Gastropub

▪ tavern British English a pub in the past where you could also stay the night – used nowadays in the names of some pubs:

the Turf Tavern


Marlowe was killed in a fight in a tavern.

▪ watering hole informal a bar, pub etc where people drink alcohol – often used humorously. A watering hole is also the name for a place where wild animals go to drink:

The bar became a popular watering hole for journalists.


What’s your favorite watering hole?

▪ dive informal a bar, club etc that is cheap and dirty:

The place is a bit of dive.

▪ honky-tonk American English informal a cheap bar where country music is played:

They played in every honky-tonk in Tennessee.

▪ saloon a bar in the western United States. Also used in Britain about the part of a pub which has comfortable chairs where you can sit and relax:

I felt like a cowboy walking into a saloon in the Wild West.


Do you want to stay in the saloon, or would rather go into the other bar?

■ people who work in a bar

▪ barman especially British English a man who serves drinks in a bar:

A big Irish barman pulled me a pint of beer.

▪ barmaid British English a woman who serves drinks in a bar:

I was working in the evenings as a barmaid.

▪ bartender especially American English someone who makes, pours, and serves drinks in a bar or restaurant:

The bartender gave him his change.

▪ bar staff the people serving drinks or food in a bar or pub:

The local pub is advertising for bar staff.

▪ landlord British English a man who owns or manages a pub:

He became violent and the landlord asked him to leave.

II. bar 2 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle barred , present participle barring ) [transitive]

1 . to officially prevent someone from entering a place or from doing something

bar somebody from (doing) something

They seized his passport and barred him from leaving the country.

2 . to prevent people from going somewhere by placing something in their way:

She ran back, but Francis barred her way.

A locked gate barred my entrance to the wood.

3 . ( also bar up ) to shut a door or window using a bar or piece of wood so that people cannot get in or out

• • •


▪ forbid to tell someone in a very strong way that they must not do something or that something is not allowed:

His doctor had strictly forbidden him to drink alcohol.


It is forbidden to say such things.

▪ not allow to say that someone must not do or have something, and stop them doing or having it:

The company does not allow smoking inside the building.


Mobile phones are not allowed in school.

▪ not let [not in passive] to not allow someone to do something. Not let is more informal than not allow :

My parents won’t let me stay out later than 11 o'clock.

▪ not permit [usually passive] if something is not permitted, a rule or law says that you must not do it. Not permit is more formal than not allow :

Candidates are not permitted to use dictionaries in this examination.


Parking is not permitted here after 8 am.

▪ ban to say officially that people must not do or have something:

Parliament decided to ban fox-hunting.


The book was banned in many countries.

▪ prohibit /prəˈhɪbət, prəˈhɪbɪt $ proʊ-/ to say officially that an action is illegal and make a law or rule about this:

Acts of vandalism are prohibited.

▪ bar [usually passive] to not allow someone to enter a place or do something, especially by preventing it officially:

Foreign journalists were barred from entering the country.

▪ proscribe formal to say officially that people are not allowed to do something:

The law proscribes discrimination in the workplace.

III. bar 3 BrE AmE preposition

1 . except:

We had recorded the whole album, bar one track.

2 . bar none used to emphasize that someone is the best of a particular group:

He’s the most talented actor in the country, bar none.

⇨ ↑ barring

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.