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Our Word of the day is babel: a confused noise made by a number of voices …

barbecue Pronunciation: /ˈbɑːbɪkjuː/

Translate barbecue into French | into German | into Italian | into Spanish
Definition of barbecue


  • a meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance: in the evening there was a barbecue [as modifier]: a barbecue area
  • a rack or appliance used for the preparation of food at a barbecue: food was placed to sizzle on the barbecue
  • [mass noun] North American food cooked on a barbecue: all the barbecue he could eat

verb (barbecues, barbecuing, barbecued)

[with object]
  • cook (food) on a barbecue: fish barbecued with herbs (as adjective barbecued) barbecued chicken


mid 17th century: from Spanish barbacoa, perhaps from Arawak barbacoa 'wooden frame on posts'. The original sense was 'wooden framework for sleeping on, or for storing meat or fish to be dried'

Barbecue is often misspelled as barbeque. This form arises understandably from the word’s pronunciation and from the informal abbreviations BBQ and Bar-B-Q. Although almost a quarter of citations in the Oxford English Corpus are for the -que spelling, it is not accepted in standard English.

Spelling help

There is an e after the second b in barbecue; the ending is -cue.

Spelling rule

Drop the final silent -e when adding -ing or -ed: (barbecues, barbecuing, barbecued).

barbecue in other Oxford dictionaries

Definition of barbecue in US English dictionary