bar code

variants: or barcode \ ˈbär-​ˌkōd How to pronounce barcode (audio) \

Definition of bar code

1 : a code consisting of a group of printed and variously patterned bars and spaces and sometimes numerals that is designed to be scanned and read into computer memory and that contains information (such as identification) about the object it labels
2 biology : something (such as a DNA sequence) that uniquely identifies a species of organism …they now plan to analyze each fish sample by decoding a certain tiny piece of DNA that can serve as a unique bar code for the species.— Christen Brownlee

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Other Words from bar code

bar-coded \ ˈbär-​ˌkō-​dəd How to pronounce bar-coded (audio) \ adjective
bar coding noun

Examples of bar code in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But egg containers, marked with bar codes and plant numbers, can be more readily traced. New York Times, "Hail Caesar Salad! Romaine Is Safe to Eat Again," 17 May 2018 Wachter believes technology, from computerized medication-dispensing machines to bar codes on patient wristbands, has made medical care far less risky for patients. Liz Kowalczyk,, "Report faults Children’s Hospital for medication errors," 27 May 2018 Army spokeswoman Julie Halpin told NBC New York that Fort Drum officials asked the couple for secondary identification because their New York ID cards do not have bar codes necessary to gain access to the base. Samantha Schmidt,, "A couple visited their soldier son-in-law on July 4. The Army turned them over to ICE.," 10 July 2018 The robots scan the bar code, then stow items in cubbies corresponding to individual orders. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "From Reindeer to Robots, Automation Set to Deliver This Holiday Season," 3 Oct. 2018 Mexican authorities provide armbands with bar codes to those who register. Juan Montes, WSJ, "New Caravan Grows as Mexico Eases Passage," 22 Jan. 2019 Riders, who must scan in their driver's license, unlock one by scanning a bar code for an initial charge of $1. Fox News, "Southern Californians are tossing electric scooters into ocean, burning them: report," 13 Aug. 2018 Riders, who must scan in their driver’s license, unlock one by scanning a bar code for an initial charge of $1. Ivan Moreno, The Seattle Times, "Company removes Milwaukee scooters until rules are in place," 6 Aug. 2018 The new model is buff, mysterious and (potentially) trouble, with a glowing face only a bar code could love. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "5 things to help you take off with Netflix's new 'Lost in Space'," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bar code.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bar code

1963, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for bar code

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for bar code

The first known use of bar code was in 1963

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More Definitions for bar code

bar code


English Language Learners Definition of bar code

: a group of thick and thin lines that is placed on a product so that a computer can get the price of the product and other information about it

bar code


Kids Definition of bar code

: a group of thick and thin lines placed on a product that represents computerized information about the product (as price)

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More from Merriam-Webster on bar code

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bar code

Spanish Central: Translation of bar code

Nglish: Translation of bar code for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bar code for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bar code

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