on the barrelhead


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

on the barrelhead

Issued immediately at the time of service or purchase. Said of a payment, typically preceded by "money" or "cash." There's no point beginning the project now if we don't have money on the barrelhead for it. Well, I guess I'm not replacing my couch right now because the furniture store requires cash on the barrelhead. I'll have to come back after my next paycheck.
See also: barrelhead, on

on the barrelhead

or

on the barrel

AMERICAN
If you pay cash on the barrelhead or on the barrel, you pay for something immediately and in cash. Customers usually pay cash on the barrelhead, so bad debts aren't much of a problem. Note: The most likely explanation for this expression comes from the days when people first started living in the American West. Saloons (= places where you could buy and drink alcohol) often consisted of just a room with a barrel (= wooden container) of drink in it, and customers who wanted to drink had to put their money on the top of the barrel before being served. Note: The usual British expression for this is on the nail.
See also: barrelhead, on