- (UK) enPR: bäʹni, IPA(key): /ˈbɑː(ɹ)ni/
- (US) IPA(key): bäɹˈni, IPA(key): /ˈbɑɹni/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɑː(r)ni
Etymology unknown. Often incorrectly thought to be Cockney rhyming slang from "Barney Rubble" ( "trouble", from the character Barney Rubble on The Flintstones), it actually dates back to the 19th century and its origin is unknown.
barney (plural barneys)
- (obsolete, Britain, slang) A lark, a romp, some fun.
- (obsolete, Britain, slang) A hoax, a humbug, something that is not genuine, a rigged or unfair sporting contest.
1882 September 2, Evening News, page 1:
- Blackguardly barneys called boxing competitions.
1884 April 13, The Referee, page 7:
- Who would believe that Mr. Gladstone shammed being ill, and that Sir Andrew Clark issued false bulletins, and that the whole thing was a barney from beginning to end.
- (obsolete, Harvard University slang) A poor recitation. [c. 1810]
- (Britain, Australia) A noisy argument.
2007, Brooks, Dave, For Nil Consideration, page 230:
- Gary and Mum went mental, and Gary phoned them up and had a right Barney with them.
2009, Conway, Neville, An Ornament to His Profession, page 45:
- ‘They had a right barney,’ Dexter said with glee, between mouthfuls. ‘Bloke wouldn′t go. Said he′d write to his MP.’
2010, White, Michael, The Art of Murder, unnumbered page:
- ‘ […] I bet there was a right barney over her wearing a dress that exposed the rose tattoo!’ Turner concluded with a laugh.
- (Britain, Australia) A minor physical fight.
1982, Edwards, Ruth Dudley, Corridors of Death, page 157:
- I got stuck in the middle of a real barney between a couple of tough coppers and a handful of hairy protesters, and I didn't enjoy it one single bit.
- (US dialect, Boston) A student at Harvard University.
- (obsolete, Britain, slang) insane crazy, loony.
- (quoted in 1945 movie: And Then There Were None, based on the Agatha Christie novel)
- (noisy argument): quarrel, row, or for semantic relationships of this sense, see dispute in the Thesaurus.
- (fight): fisticuffs, scuffle, or for semantic relationships of this sense, see fight in the Thesaurus.
- (obsolete, Harvard University slang) To recite badly; to fail. [c. 1810]
1947, Adams, Samuel Hopkins, Banner by the Wayside:
- What avails it to make a shine in Greek if the next hour one does a barney in calculus.
- (Britain, Australia) To argue, to quarrel.
- (argue): bicker, have a barney, row, squabble, or for semantic relationships of this sense, see squabble in the Thesaurus.
- Hall, Benjamin Homer (1851) A Collection of College Words and Customs, page 15
- “barney” in Albert Barrère and Charles G[odfrey] Leland, compilers and editors, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant, volume I (A–K), Edinburgh: The Ballantyne Press, 1889–1890, pages 81–82.
- Farmer, John Stephen (1890) Slang and Its Analogues, volume 1, page 129
barney (plural barneys)
- (US, pejorative slang) A police officer, usually one perceived as inferior or overzealous.
- 2005, “Scott Peterson's sister speaks out”, in (Please provide the title of the work), MSNBC, March 3, 2005: “Foo”
- (police officer): fed, pig, or for semantic relationships of this term, see police officer in the Thesaurus.