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 Theft, Westgate On Nov. 13 a man was caught at Target changing bar codes on merchandise to pay less money. cleveland, "Officers arrest man for changing bar codes on merchandise: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 22 Nov. 2019 To fight counterfeiting, Ticketmaster recently launched SafeTix, which creates an encrypted bar code that refreshes every few seconds. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Billboard's 2019 Digital Power Players Revealed," 18 Nov. 2019 Fans need to either get tickets from the box office on game day or use the Magic App or Ticketmaster’s app to display bar codes on their phones for admission. Iliana Limón Romero,, "Magic fan guide: Everything Orlando fans need to know," 23 Oct. 2019 The devices will record voters’ fingerprints and photos, and also scan bar codes on registration stickers affixed to national ID cards, known as tazkera. David Zucchino, New York Times, "Afghanistan Presidential Vote Presses On Despite Concerns About Legitimacy," 27 Sep. 2019 The retailer's stores connect with Nike's app so shoppers can look up inventory, reserve products, and scan bar codes, making that chain more appealing for Nike. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "President of Nike Direct Plans to Boost Tech to Grow Sales at Flagship Stores," 15 Nov. 2019 And on the data collection side they're fascinated by our ability to capture real fan data through the ticket bar code scanning. Fred Goodman, Billboard, "Concert Audio Hub Has Doubled Its Subscriber Base in Just a Few Months," 14 Nov. 2019 Ryan Allen Walker, 35, allegedly changed the bar codes of items such as Lego sets, electric toothbrushes and calculators to buy them for lower prices, according to a probable-cause affidavit in the case. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis-area man accused of making $1M on eBay in fake bar-code scheme, police say," 22 Aug. 2019 Look for new price stickers over old price tags or bar codes. Laura Daily, Washington Post, "‘Liquidation sale’ doesn’t necessarily mean discounts, and other tips for shopping closeouts," 11 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for bar code

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The first known use of bar code was in 1963

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Bar code.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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