I. noun 1. 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.
2. a rack or appliance used for the preparation of food at a barbecue. • food was placed to sizzle on the barbecue.
3. [ mass noun] —
(N. Amer.) food cooked on a barbecue.
• all the barbecue he could eat.
II. verb — [with obj.] 1. cook (food) on a barbecue. • fish barbecued with herbs.
• (as adj. barbecued)
– origin mid 17th cent.: 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’.