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I was asked what I was working on last night and I only have one thing to work on so the answer was pretty obvious but before I could respond he said, "bar the question?", which apparently means something like "Or should I not ask". Is this true? Where does it come from?

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To bar is to make an exception for. In wrestling No holds barred means that there are no exceptions for a hold. Any hold is valid. In craps, game of dice, there is a play of Don't Pass Bar 12 meaning any non-pass score wins except twelve. (This area is often miss identified as the Don't pass bar)

When answering the question that is just what you are working on. A whimsical answer to the question would be, "I'm working on an answer to your question." They wanted to know what you were doing besides talking and answering.

From Merriam-Webster for bar as a verb; to set aside : to not take into consideration : to rule out or exclude

  • I can't quite follow this answer. Can you cite your references? – lbf Dec 6 '18 at 21:08
  • While I agree with your answer as to what to "bar" something is, I don't think that's what the speaker was intending, I think the speaker is likely misinformed and "bar the question" doesn't mean what he thinks it means. – Rian Mostert Dec 10 '18 at 12:43

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