Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

bar - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable]     bar pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a place where you go to buy and drink alcoholic drinks

    We met at Ernie’s Bar.

    1. a.
      the counter where alcoholic drinks are served in a bar or pub

      Whose turn is it to go to the bar (=to buy the drinks)?

  2. 2
    a long narrow piece of metal

    an old house with iron bars on the windows

    The car’s safety features include side-impact bars.

    1. a.
      the long thin part of an electric fire that becomes red and produces heat
    2. b.
      computing a long narrow shape along one of the sides of a window on a computer screen

      Use the scroll bar to move up and down the page.

      There’s a quick-access menu bar below the top menu.

    3. c.
      a long narrow shape consisting of several strips of light that show how much life is left in a phone battery, electronic device etc
    4. d.
      the long piece of wood or metal across the top of the goal in football and similar sports

      Owen’s shot hit the bar and ended up in the crowd.

  3. 3
    a solid block of a substance such as chocolate or soap

    a chocolate bar

    bar of:

    a bar of soap

  4. 4
    music one of the sections in a line of music. Each bar contains several notes.
  5. 5
    something that prevents another thing from happening
    bar to:

    We have to ensure that a person’s ethnic background is no bar to success in the workplace.

    1. a.
      an order stating that something is not allowed
      bar on:

      The ruling placed a bar on any mention of the facts in the media.

  6. 6

    the Bar


    the bar

    legal the profession of being a barrister (=a lawyer who has the right to speak in a higher court of law). If someone is called to the bar, they become a barrister. A barrister who is called within the bar takes silk (=becomes a QC).
  7. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    get some bars to go somewhere else, for example outside, to get a better mobile phone reception (refers to the series of bars on the phone's screen, showing the strength of the signal)

    There's no signal in here - I'm going outside to get some bars.

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 22/03/2010
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play