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1. A disreputable old-time saloon or house of prostitution.
2. An early style of jazz characterized by boisterous piano playing, group improvisation, and a two-beat rhythm.


1. US a cheap and disreputable drinking establishment
2. (Jazz)
a. a vigorous and unpolished style of jazz for piano, originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans
b. (as modifier): barrelhouse blues.


(ˈbær əlˌhaʊs)

n., pl. -hous•es (-ˌhaʊ zɪz)
for 1.
1. a cheap saloon.
2. a style of jazz originating in the barrelhouses of New Orleans in the early 20th century.
[1880–85, Amer.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.barrelhouse - a cheap drinking and dancing establishmentbarrelhouse - a cheap drinking and dancing establishment
bar, barroom, ginmill, saloon, taproom - a room or establishment where alcoholic drinks are served over a counter; "he drowned his sorrows in whiskey at the bar"
References in periodicals archive ?
The gritty voice is as rough as a blacksmith's rasp and is perfectly suited to the medium in which he works - hard-edged, guitar-driven blues that harks back to the juke-joints and barrelhouses of old.
They organized barrelhouses to dance and have a good time.
Its origins are hazy, but anecdotes suggest a nineteenth-century genesis among unschooled pianists in saloons and barrelhouses in Southern lumber and turpentine camps.
One of the best known American musical styles, boogie woogie has a history that goes back to barrelhouses in the U.