The whole body of barristers; as bench means the whole body of bishops.
“A dinner was given to the English Bar.” —The Times.
excepting. In racing phrase a man will bet “Two to one, bar one,” that is, two to one against any horse in the field with one exception. The word means “barring out” one, shutting out, or debarring one.
At the bar. As the prisoner at the bar, the prisoner in the dock before the judge.
in heraldry. An honourable ordinary, consisting of two parallel lines drawn across the shield and containing a fifth part of the field.
“A barre ... is drawne overthwart the escochon ... it containeth the fifth part of the Field.” —Gwillim: Heraldry.
A Bar sinister in an heraldic shield means one drawn the reverse way; that is, not from left to right, but from right to left. Popularly but erroneously supposed to indicate bastardy.
(Trial at) The examination of a difficult cause before the four judges in the superior courts.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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