While trying to find example sentences online for another question on this site, I realized I didn't fully understand the usage of 'barring' to mean 'except'. Here is an example:

I was basically the only David I knew, barring my Uncle Dave of course. source

To be clear, I understand what the sentence means. My question is, Who or what is doing the barring?

Uncle Dave is obviously the one who gets barred from the statement, but is it the speaker who is barring him? Is it simply a way of illustrating that the statement is only true on the condition that Uncle Dave is excluded as a person named David, and nothing is doing the barring? I'm thoroughly confused and probably overthinking it, but any help would be appreciated!

P.S. I apologize for my lack of scholarly vocabulary, but I didn't want to use any incorrect terms or confuse anybody.

1 Answer 1


It is the speaker who is "barring", to establish the meaning of their statement, just as the speaker would be doing the "excepting" if "except" had been used. It's a headword in this dictionary:

Merriam-Webster "barring"
excluding by exception : excepting … they knew that, barring a miracle, they would never be able to save the large cash outlay required …

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