1. A vessel or cask, of more length than breadth, round and bulging in the middle, made of staves and heading, and bound with hoops.
2. The quantity which a barrel contains. Of wine measure, the English barrel contains 31 l/2 gallons, of beer measure, 36 gallons; of ale, 32 gallons; and of beer-vinegar, 34 gallons.
Of weight, a barrel of Essex butter is 106 pounds; of Suffolk butter, 256, a barrel of herring should contain 32 gallons wine measure, and hold 1000 herrings; a barrel of salmon should contain 42 gallons; a barrel of soap should weigh 256 lbs.
In America, the contents of a barrel are regulated by statutes.
In Connecticut, the barrel for liquors must contain 31 l/2 gallons, each gallon to contain 231 cubic inches. In New York, a barrel of flour by statute must contain either 196 lb. or 228 lb.net weight. The barrel of beef and pork in New York and Connecticut, is 200 lbs. In general, the contents of barrels, as defined by statute, in this country, must be from 28 to 31 1/2 gallons.
3. Any thing hollow and long, as the barrel of a gun; a tube.
4. A cylinder; as the barrel of a watch, within which the spring is coiled, and round which is wound the chain.
5. A cavity behind the tympanum of the ear is called the barrel of the ear. It is four or five lines deep, and five or six wide, and covered with a fine membrane. It is more usually called the cavity of the tympanum.
BAR'REL, verb transitive To put in a barrel; to pack in a barrel with salt for preservation, as to barrel beef, pork or fish.