bar·​ra·​coon ˌber-ə-ˈkün How to pronounce barracoon (audio)
plural barracoons
: an enclosure or barracks formerly used for temporary confinement of enslaved people or convicts
often used in plural

Examples of barracoon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kossola recalled the horror of separation, first from his tribal family in Bantè, then from his companions in the barracoon. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 2021 There, they were placed in a barracoon, a holding pen, until white men purchased them and led them onto a ship. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 8 Oct. 2019 With Kossola guiding the way through his story, Hurston transcribed tales of his childhood in Dahomey (now Benin), his capture at 19, his time in a barracoon, his dehumanizing arrival, and five years of enslavement in Alabama. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, 2 May 2018 Douglas again escorted them to a barracoon on St. Louis Alley in Chinatown, where they were distributed to the companies that had ordered them. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Jan. 2018 Lewis was captured and held for weeks in the barracoons of Ouidah, near the Bight of Benin. Emily Bernard, The New Republic, 19 June 2018 After eight days of discussion, Foster traded his rum and gold for more than a hundred slaves from the barracoons, as the holding pens were called. Casey N. Cep, The New Yorker, 7 May 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'barracoon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish barracón, augmentative of barraca hut, from Catalan

First Known Use

1817, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of barracoon was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near barracoon

Cite this Entry

“Barracoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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