1859, "action of barring; man-made barrier in a stream" (for irrigation, etc.), from French barrer "to stop," from barre "bar," from Old French barre (see bar (n.1)). Artillery sense is 1916, from World War I French phrase tir de barrage "barrier fire" intended to isolate the objective. As a verb by 1917. Related: Barraged; barraging.
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