Bar

The whole body of barristers; as bench means the whole body of bishops.

“A dinner was given to the English Bar.” —The Times.

Bar

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.

Bar

At the bar. As the prisoner at the bar, the prisoner in the dock before the judge.

Trial at bar, i.e.
by the full court of judges. The bar means the place set apart for the business of the court.

To be called to the bar.
To be admitted a barrister. The bar is the partition separating the seats of the benchers from the rest of the hall. Students having attained a certain status used to be called from the body of the hall within the bar, to take part in the proceedings of the court. To disbar is to discard from the bar. Now, “to be called within the bar” means to be appointed king's (or queen's) counsel; and to disbar means to expel a barrister from his profession.

Bar

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.

Bar

(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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