bar·​ney | \ ˈbär-nē How to pronounce barney (audio) \
plural barneys

Definition of barney

1 British, informal
a : an angry argument : altercation, row You might have a barney with your husband over his inability to find your jokes funny but actually resorting to punching, kicking or lifting a weapon is beyond me.— Elaine C. Smith, Sunday Mail, 31 July 2005 She accused him of knocking her front teeth out in a barney, while admitting that more often than not she initiated the punch-ups. — David Bennun, The Guardian (London), 17 Sept. 1999
b : a boisterous good time
2 : a small car attached to a cable used to push cars up a slope in a mine

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First Known Use of barney

1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for barney

perhaps from the name Barney

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The first known use of barney was in 1864

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Cite this Entry

“Barney.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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