A barbecue is an outdoor party where food is cooked on a grill or over a fire. Your family might host a barbecue every summer to celebrate the end of the school year.
If you're invited to a barbecue, you'll probably be served meat that's been slowly cooked or smoked over a fire, served with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Sometimes this kind of food itself is called barbecue, and the oven or grill that's used is also a barbecue. This word dates from the 17th century, from the Spanish barbacoa, which probably stems from the Arawakan barbakoa, "framework of sticks" used to cure meat.