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A barachois is a term used in Atlantic Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Réunion and Mauritius Island to describe a coastal lagoon partially or totally separated from the ocean by a sand or shingle bar. Salt water may enter the barachois during high tide.

The bar often is formed as a result of sediment deposited in the delta region of a river or – as is the case in Miquelon – by a tombolo.


The English term comes from the French language, where the word is pronounced [ba.ʁa.ʃwa].

The term comes from a Basque word, barratxoa, meaning little bar. The popular derivation from the French barre à choir is without historical merit.

In Newfoundland English, the word has become pronounced (and sometimes written) as barrasway.


Dark Harbour, New Brunswick.