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

  • n. A grass in the genus Hordeum, native to temperate regions, having flowers in terminal, often long-awned spikes.
  • n. The grain of H. vulgare or its varieties, used for livestock feed, malt production, and cereal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

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


Middle English barli, from Old English bærlic; see bhares- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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")). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.