use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

bar 1 (bär)
Share:
n.
1. A relatively long, straight, rigid piece of solid material used as a fastener, support, barrier, or structural or mechanical member.
2.
a. A solid oblong block of a substance or combination of ingredients, such as soap or candy.
b. A usually rectangular slice of any of various flat baked confections that are typically dense in texture.
c. A rectangular block of a precious metal.
3. Sports
b. A horizontal rod that marks the height to be cleared in high jumping or pole vaulting.
4. A standard, expectation, or degree of requirement: a leader whose example set a high bar for others.
5. Something that impedes or prevents action or progress: A poor education was a bar to his ambitions.
6. A ridge, as of sand or gravel, on a shore or streambed, that is formed by the action of tides or currents.
7. A narrow marking, as a stripe or band.
8.
a. A narrow metal or embroidered strip worn on a military uniform indicating rank or service.
b. Chiefly British A small insignia worn on a military decoration indicating that it has been awarded an additional time.
9. Heraldry A pair of horizontal parallel lines drawn across a shield.
10. Law
a. The nullification, defeat, or prevention of a claim or action.
b. The process by which nullification, defeat, or prevention is achieved.
11. The railing in a courtroom separating the participants in a legal proceeding from the spectators.
12. A court or courtroom.
13. Law
a. Attorneys considered as a group. Used with the.
b. The profession of law. Used with the.
14. Music
a. A vertical line drawn through a staff to mark off a measure.
b. A measure.
15. Variant of barre.
16.
a. A counter at which drinks, especially alcoholic drinks, and sometimes food, are served.
b. An establishment or room having such a counter.
tr.v. barred, bar·ring, bars
1. To fasten securely with a long, straight, rigid piece of material: barred the gate.
2. To shut in or confine: barred themselves in the basement.
3. To obstruct or impede; block: barred the access route.
4. To keep out; exclude: Tourists are barred from this room.
5.
a. To prohibit or prevent (someone) from doing something: Failing the eye exam barred him from driving.
b. To prohibit (an action): The state bars the dumping of waste in the river.
c. Law To nullify, defeat, or prevent (a claim or action).
6. To rule out; except: Can we bar the possibility of foul play?
7. To mark with stripes or bands.
prep.
Chiefly British Except for; excluding: This was your best performance, bar none.
Idiom:
behind bars
In prison.

[Middle English barre, from Old French; see BARRE.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bar 2 (bär)
Share:
n.
A unit of pressure equal to one million (106) dynes per square centimeter.

[Greek baros, weight; see gwerə-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bar-
Share:
pref.
Variant of baro-.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Bar.
Share:
abbr.
Bible
Baruch

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bar.
Share:
abbr.
1.
a. barometer
b. barometric
2. barrel

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
BAR
Share:
abbr.
Browning automatic rifle

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.