0

In the dictionary:

have someone over a barrel
If someone has you over a barrel, they have put you in a situation where you are forced to do what they want.

barrel a hollow cylindrical container or unit

I had understood have someone over a barrel as a whole phrase, what does barrel mean in the phrase "get somebody over a barrel" ?

1
  • If by sb you mean somebody, please write out the full word. – Jason Bassford May 10 '19 at 15:35
1

It means the large wooden container for beer or similar.

A prisoner would be tied, face forward, onto a board with a barrel in the middle. This would bend their body forward. They could then be whipped or beaten with a paddle as punishment. This is illustrated in this picture from wikipedia

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.