In Reply to: Wouldn't have a bar of posted by David FG on January 10, 2010 at 09:48:
: : : What is the origin and meaning of:
: : : "I wouldn't have a bar of him."
: : This is a guess. "Bar" is a U.S. Southern/country word for "barrow." Barrow can mean mound or short for wheelbarrow/wheelbar/garden cart. So the phrase could mean: I wouldn't take a wheelbarrow of him if they were giving him away free. Again, just a guess.
: This is a guess too. Perhaps it refers to a 'bar' as in a bar of chocolate. Thus, it could mean I wouldn't have him even if he were neatly sized and packaged...
[Greek "baros" = "weight," thus one "bar" is one unit of atmospheric pressure (as measured with a barometer). This terminology is about a century old. Somewhat less old, electric heaters have used (and still today use) bar-shaped elements; more bars, more heat; one bar, least heat. Oldest relevant reference I can think of: Eighteenth-century English traders in Africa (and perhaps India, too?) used small bars of iron as standard currency when travelling and making trades among various native groups who, in some cases, had no other regular exchange in common. For those traders (and their voyages made popular reading-matter throughout the English-speaking world), one bar was a minimum exchange. -Bac.]