Posted by Smokey Stover on November 27, 2007
In Reply to: Re: Barrel through posted by ESC on November 26, 2007
: : What is the origin of the phrase "barrel through"?
: Near where I work is a distillery. There is a rail system that is used to roll barrels from warehouse to warehouse. That's the image that I get. But I don't know if it's the origin.
Barrel along, barrel on by, barrel up--there's no one adverb that's uniquely associated with barrel as a verb. The verb, when used instransitively, is always defined more or less as the OED defines it:
s.v. barrel: "intr. To more or travel quickly, especially in a motor vehicle. Freq. with advb. (phr.) Also fig[uratively] slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.) [Examples:]
1930 Amer. Speech V. 305 Barrel, make haste or hurry, or cause to make haste. Used especially of vehicles. 'They went barreling up the hill for dinner.' 1943 Yank 3 Dec. 9 We dove for that, sweating bullets as I barreled over Shimushu at 800 feet full throttle. . . ."
No hint here, or anywhere I looked, of a specific association with actual barrels.