1 [bahr-lee]
a widely distributed cereal plant belonging to the genus Hordeum, of the grass family, having awned flowers that grow in tightly bunched spikes, with three small additional spikes at each node.
the grain of this plant, used as food and in making beer, ale, and whiskey.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English bærlīc (adj.), equivalent to bær- (variant of bere barley; akin to Old Norse barr barley, Gothic barizeins made of barley, Serbo-Croatian brȁšno flour, Latin far emmer; all < European Indo-European *bHaer- spike, prickle, perhaps akin to beard) + -līc -ly Unabridged


2 [bahr-lee]
noun, plural barleys. Scot. and North England.
a truce or quarter, especially in children's games; parley.

1805–15; probably to be identified with Scots barley, burley, birlie local customary law (Compare birleyman arbiter, birleycourt neighborhood court), variant of birlaw, Medieval Latin birlawe, birelegia, birelag < Old Norse *býjarlagu, equivalent to býjar genitive singular of býr town (cf. bower1, byre) + *lagu law1; compare by-law Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To barley
World English Dictionary
barley1 (ˈbɑːlɪ)
1.  any of various erect annual temperate grasses of the genus Hordeum, esp H. vulgare, that have short leaves and dense bristly flower spikes and are widely cultivated for grain and forage
2.  See also pearl barley the grain of any of these grasses, used in making beer and whisky and for soups, puddings, etc
[Old English bærlīc (adj); related to bere barley, Old Norse barr barley, Gothic barizeins of barley, Latin farīna flour]

barley2 (ˈbɑːlɪ)
sentence substitute
dialect a cry for truce or respite from the rules of a game
[C18: probably changed from parley]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. bærlic, originally an adj., "of barley," from bere "barley" (from P.Gmc. *bariz, *baraz) + -lic "body, like." First element is related to O.N. barr "barley," and cognate with L. far (gen. farris) "coarse grain, meal;" probably from PIE *bhars- "bristle, point, projection." In Britain and U.S.,
the grain is used mainly to prepare liquor, hence personification as John Barleycorn (1620) in popular ballad, and many now-obsolete figures of speech, e.g. to wear a barley cap (16c.) "to be drunk."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Barley definition

a grain much cultivated in Egypt (Ex. 9:31) and in Palestine (Lev. 27:16; Deut. 8:8). It was usually the food of horses (1 Kings 4:28). Barley bread was used by the poorer people (Judg. 7:13; 2 Kings 4:42). Barley of the first crop was ready for the harvest by the time of the Passover, in the middle of April (Ruth 1:22; 2 Sam. 21:9). Mention is made of barley-meal (Num. 5:15). Our Lord fed five thousand with "five barley loaves and two small fishes" (John 6:9).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Instead, they seem to have been used to store wild barley and wild oats.
Their results suggest that gladiators ate a diet rich in barley and beans.
Growing barley uses three times less fossil energy inputs than wheat.
Chicken pairs with nutty barley and earthy mushrooms for a hearty one-pan
  dinner that's made for fall.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature