Barley definition

bärlē
A cereal grass (Hordeum vulgare and related species) with dense, bearded spikes of flowers, each made up of three single-seeded spikelets.
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The definition of barley is a cereal grass that has short leaves and compact flower spikes as well as seeds which are used to make malt drinks, including beer, and food for farm animals.

Grain that is used to make ale and whiskey is an example of barley.

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A cereal of the species Hordeum vulgare, or its grains, often used as food or to make beer and other malted drinks.
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Its grain, used in making malt, soups, etc.
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A grass in the genus Hordeum native to temperate regions, having flowers in terminal, often long-awned spikes and widely cultivated for its grain.
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The grain of H. vulgare or its varieties, used in malt production and as food for livestock and humans.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
barley
Plural:
barleys

Origin of barley

  • Middle English barli from Old English bærlic bhares- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th 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”)).

    From Wiktionary