What Does Bar None Mean?

Bar None Meaning

Definition: Without exception; there are no exceptions.

This idiom can also take the form “barring none,” and is used after a superlative and a noun in order to emphasize the statement.

Origin of Bar None

This idiom first appeared in its written form in the year 1866, in English author M. E. Braddon’s novel, Lady’s Mile. In this Victorian novel, the idiom is found in the line, “I know that your ‘Aspasia’ is the greatest picture that was ever painted – ‘bar none,’ as Mr. Lobyer would say.”

This usage most likely developed from the preposition bar, which means “except,” and is most common in British English. Therefore, bar none means “except none,” or in it’s current form “without exceptions.”

Examples of Bar None

Meaning of bar noneTo use this idiom correctly, it is not enough to merely consider its meaning. It is equally important that it must follow a noun modified by a superlative. Otherwise, this expression will sound out of place.

Here is an example of the idiom being used by two college students who are discussing music.

Karl: Who’s your favorite classical composer?

Frank: I like Mozart. He was the best composer, bar none.

In this example, a hostess uses the idiom during a party at her home.

Hostess: Please take some of my homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Guest: You always make the most wonderful cookies!

Hostess: Nonsense! Your peanut butter cookies are the most delicious, bar none.

Guest: You flatter me! Thank you!

More Examples

  • Finally, a take on Brady: “What makes him the best isn’t just his accuracy throwing the ball. His pre-snap vision is the best I’ve ever seen, bar none.” –Boston Herald
  • The grass isn’t always greener, though. Darling acknowledged that Chicago is “bar none, the best place to be” a backup in the NHL. –Chicago Sun Times

Grammatical Notes

define bar noneThe idiom is used only in statements with superlative adjectives, such as best or worst. It commonly comes at the end of a sentence, and is separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma.

Subject + Verb + Superlative Adjective + Noun, bar none. Ex: He has the best clothes, bar none.

However, to add even more emphasis, it is sometimes placed before the superlative adjective. This gives the sentence a more informal tone.

Subject + Verb, bar none, Superlative Adjective + Noun. Ex: She is, bar none, the smartest physicist in the world today.

This idiom does not make sense without a superlative. For example, take the sentence, “I exercise every day, bar none.” At first, it might seem to work, because if we substitute without exception for bar none, it makes sense grammatically. However, this idiom is not used this way, so be careful and avoid this type of usage.

Summary

Bar none is used for emphasis after superlative adjective + noun phrases, and means “with no exceptions.”