Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A grass in the genus Hordeum native to temperate regions, having flowers in terminal, often long-awned spikes and widely cultivated for its grain.
  • noun The grain of H. vulgare or its varieties, used in malt production and as food for livestock and humans.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The name of a grain, and of the plant yielding it, belonging to the genus Hordeum, natural order Gramineæ.
  • noun A cry used by children in certain games when a truce or temporary stop is desired.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A valuable grain, of the family of grasses, genus Hordeum, used for food, and for making malt, from which are prepared beer, ale, and whisky.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the siskin.
  • noun sugar boiled till it is brittle (formerly with a decoction of barley) and candied.
  • noun a decoction of barley, used in medicine, as a nutritive and demulcent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A strong cereal of the genus Hordeum, or its grains, often used as food or to make malted drinks.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun cultivated since prehistoric times; grown for forage and grain
  • noun a grain of barley

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English barli, from Old English bærlic; see bhares- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English barli, barly, from Old English (adj.) bærlīċ ("barley-like"), from bere ("barley") (compare Scots bere ‘six-rowed barley’), from Proto-Germanic *baraz (compare Old Norse barr), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰars- ‘spike, prickle’ (compare Welsh bara ‘bread’, Latin far ‘spelt’, Serbo-Croatian бра̏шно/brȁšno ‘flour’, Albanian bar ‘grass’, Ancient Greek Φήρον (Phḗron, "plant deity")).

Examples

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