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Old English bærlic, originally an adjective, "of barley," from bere "barley" (from Proto-Germanic *bariz, *baraz) + -lic "body, like." First element is related to Old Norse barr "barley," and cognate with Latin far (genitive farris) "coarse grain, meal;" probably from PIE *bhars- "bristle, point, projection" (see bristle (n.)).
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).