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[bahrn] /bɑrn/
a building for storing hay, grain, etc., and often for housing livestock.
a very large garage for buses, trucks, etc.; carbarn.
verb (used with object)
to store (hay, grain, etc.) in a barn.
Origin of barn1
before 950; Middle English bern, Old English berern (bere (see barley1) + ern, ǣrn house, cognate with Old Frisian fīaern cowhouse, Old High German erin, Gothic razn, Old Norse rann house; cf. ransack, rest1)
Related forms
barnlike, adjective


[bahrn] /bɑrn/
noun, Physics.
a unit of nuclear cross section, equal to 10 −24 square centimeter.
Abbreviation: b.
1945-50; special use of barn1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for barn
  • Here in a converted barn, their nameplates were hung outside empty offices that once belonged to residential faculty members.
  • The threat is real, but your diagnosis of the reasons misses the broad side of the barn.
  • Among the remains were an abundance of swiftlets and songbirds, which may have been hunted by barn owls found at the site.
  • My dad sprayed some kind of plant oil on them that he picked from around the barn and killed them.
  • There were a couple of big, burly guys working at the barn, feeding horses and such.
  • They had lately let my sleeping-car alone in the old barn.
  • Thus in every form the offals of the barn and stables will maintain a certain number of poultry.
  • Now maybe a barn of call center agents, or a team of cleaners is different.
  • Every serious car collector dreams of the forgotten car they might discover in a barn somewhere.
  • He transported log cabins, a springhouse, a loom house and a barn to the farm.
British Dictionary definitions for barn


a large farm outbuilding, used chiefly for storing hay, grain, etc, but also for housing livestock
(US & Canadian) a large shed for sheltering railroad cars, trucks, etc
any large building, esp an unattractive one
(modifier) relating to a system of poultry farming in which birds are allowed to move freely within a barn: barn eggs
Word Origin
Old English beren, from bere barley + ærn room; see barley1


a unit of nuclear cross section equal to 1028 square metre b
Word Origin
C20: from barn1; so called because of the relatively large cross section
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barn

Old English bereærn "barn," literally "barley house," from bere "barley" (see barley) + aern "house," metathesized from *rann, *rasn (cf. Old Norse rann, Gothic razn "house," Old English rest "resting place;" sealtærn "saltworks").

Barley was not always the only crop grown as the data recovered at Bishopstone might suggest but it is always the most commonly represented, followed by wheat and then rye and oats. [C.J. Arnold, "An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms," 1988, p.36]
Another word for "barn" in Old English was beretun, "barley enclosure" (from tun "enclosure, house"), which accounts for the many Barton place names on the English map, and the common surname. Barn door used figuratively for "broad target" and "great size" since 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for barn
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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barn in the Bible

a storehouse (Deut. 28:8; Job 39:12; Hag. 2:19) for grain, which was usually under ground, although also sometimes above ground (Luke 12:18).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with barn
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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