- Also called, especially British, barber’s shop. the place of business of a barber.
- the singing of four-part harmony in barbershop style or the music sung in this style.
- specializing in the unaccompanied part-singing of popular songs in which four voices move in close, highly chromatic harmony: a barbershop quartet.
- characteristic of such part-singing.
- mainly US the premises of a barber
- (modifier) denoting or characterized by a type of close four-part harmony for male voices, popular in romantic and sentimental songs of the 1920s and 1930sa barbershop quartet
1570s, from barber + shop (n.). Earlier in same sense was barbery (c.1500). Barber-shop in reference to close harmony male vocal quartets, it is attested from 1910; the custom of barber’s keeping a musical instrument in their shops so waiting customers could entertain themselves is an old one, but the musical product had a low reputation and barber’s music (c.1660) was “wretched, poorly performed music.”