a barrel of a man

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New Member
Alabama Family Loses Everything Except What Really Matters

"As the flight to Birmingham began its descent, the passenger in 8B, a barrel of a man wearing a camouflage baseball cap, peered out the window at the disfigured sprawl of Tuscaloosa below."

In this sentence, what would be the definition of 'a barrel of a man'?
My guess after some researching is that it means some kind of 'strong, sturdy man'.
On the other hand, one dictionary says that 'barrel' means a person who's got fat due to beers and stuffs in old British slang.
I am quite confused, for I have never heard the phrase and Google didn't help much.

Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    He is shaped like a barrel. He's round and thick. On an airplane there is not a lot of extra room. People feel crowded when nearby passengers are large.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This was written in the U.S. in the 21st century. (Thank you for providing the link.) It wouldn't use old British slang.

    It means that he was large and sturdy.
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