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See also: Barrack



  • IPA(key): /ˈbæ.ɹək/
  • (file)
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Etymology 1[edit]

From French baraque; from Catalan barraca.


barrack (plural barracks)

  1. (military, chiefly in the plural) A building for soldiers, especially within a garrison; originally referred to temporary huts, now usually to a permanent structure or set of buildings.
    • 1829, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[1], volume 4, page 67:
      Before the gates of Bari, he lodged in a miserable hut or barrack, composed of dry branches, and thatched with straw; a perilous station, on all sides open to the inclemency of the winter and the spears of the enemy.
    • 1919, House Committee on Military Affairs, Army Reorganization: Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, 66th Congress, 1st Session, on H.R. 8287, H.R. 8068, H.R. 7925, H.R. 8870, Sept. 3, 1919-Nov. 12, 1919, Parts 23-43, page 1956,
      How do you distinguish between the disciplinary barracks and the penitentiary? Where are the disciplinary barracks ?
    • 1996, Erich Maria Remarque, Brian Murdoch, transl., All Quiet on the Western Front, page 129:
      I know the barracks at the training camp out on the moors.
  2. (chiefly in the plural) A primitive structure resembling a long shed or barn for (usually temporary) housing or other purposes.
  3. (by extension, chiefly in the plural) Any very plain, monotonous, or ugly large building.
  4. (US) A (structure with a) movable roof sliding on four posts, to cover hay, straw, etc.
  5. (Ireland, colloquial, usually in the plural) A police station.


barrack (third-person singular simple present barracks, present participle barracking, simple past and past participle barracked)

  1. (transitive) To house military personnel; to quarter.
    • 1825, Richard Carlile, The Republican[2], volume 11, page 276:
      Where the men were barracked alone, unnatural crime prevailed : where the women were barracked, contrivances were made to render such a place a brothel.
  2. (intransitive) To live in barracks.

Etymology 2[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


barrack (third-person singular simple present barracks, present participle barracking, simple past and past participle barracked)

  1. (Britain, transitive) To jeer and heckle; to attempt to disconcert by verbal means.
    Synonyms: badger, jeer, tease, make fun of
    • 1934, Herbert Chapman, Herbert Chapman on Football[3], page 140:
      I knew that he had been barracked at times, but I did not realise that he was so sensitive.
    • 2006, Ramsay Burt, Judson Dance Theater: Performative traces[4], page 192:
      Some people stopped concentrating on the piece altogether, some started barracking and heckling, while others began chatting to one another.
    • 2009, Jimmy Greaves, The Heart of the Game, unnumbered page,
      Its basic tenet was to say that if those Arsenal supporters who barracked the board at home games could do any better, let them come forward, put some money in the club, and have a go at being directors themselves. In short, ‘Put up or shut up’, which, of course, only encouraged Johnny and One-armed Lou to heckle the Arsenal board even more. Dear old Dennis, he had no idea the barracking he and his fellow Arsenal directors suffered at every home game came from Spurs supporters.
  2. (Australia, New Zealand, intransitive) To cheer for or support a team.
    Synonyms: cheer, (US) root for
    • 1988, J. A. Mangan (editor), Pleasure, Profit, Proselytism: British Culture and Sport at Home and Abroad 1700-1914[5], page 266:
      The only really unique aspect of Australian barracking is its idiom, the distinctive language and humour involved.
    • 2009, Roger Averill, Boy He Cry: An Island Odyssey[6], page 115:
      I had by then explained to him my custom of occasionally listening to Australian Rules Football on our shortwave radio of a Saturday afternoon; how, despite my barracking for Essendon, I thought a player from Geelong, Gary Ablett, the best I had ever seen.
    • 2010, John Cash, Joy Damousi, Footy Passions, page 75,
      ‘So to me barracking for the footy I identified with my father, although nobody barracked for Essendon.’