noun (1)
bar·​bel | \ ˈbär-bəl How to pronounce barbel (audio) \

Definition of barbel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a European freshwater cyprinid fish (Barbus barbus) with four barbels on its upper jaw also : any of various closely related fishes


noun (2)

Definition of barbel (Entry 2 of 2)

: a slender tactile process on the lips of certain fishes (such as catfishes)

First Known Use of barbel

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for barbel

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *barbellus, diminutive of Latin barbus barbel, from barba beard — more at beard

Noun (2)

obsolete French, from Middle French, diminutive of barbe barb, beard

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The first known use of barbel was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Barbel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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