Definition of barley in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɑːli/


[mass noun]
1A hardy cereal with coarse bristles extending from the ears, cultivated especially for use in brewing and stockfeed.
  • Genus Hordeum, family Gramineae.
Example sentences
  • He was listed among the first four pioneers in barley breeding and tested barleys of hybrid origin as early as 1904, but none attained release.
  • ‘Winter barleys are in the ground in time to take advantage of moisture from fall rains, winter snowpack, and early spring rainstorms,’ he explains.
  • With the first winter barleys cut at the weekend in the Vale of York, harvest has come with a rush and, strangely, this season we are ahead of many of our southern brethren.
1.1The grain of barley.
Example sentences
  • We take our water and mix it with malted barley or grain to make a drink called whisky.
  • In Korea, while rice is the staple grain, barley is consumed in between the rice production seasons.
  • The staple food of Tibet, tsampa, is toasted barley ground to a flour.


Old English bærlic (adjective), from bære, bere 'barley' + -lic (see -ly1).

  • barn from Old English:

    A barn was originally a place for storing barley (Old English), the word coming from Old English from bere ‘barley’ and ern ‘house’. In the 1940s barn started to be used in particle physics as a unit of areas. It is apparently from the phrase as big as a barn door, a long established measure of size.

Words that rhyme with barley

Bali, Cali, Carly, Charlie, Dali, Diwali, finale, gnarly, Gurkhali, Kali, Kigali, Mali, Marley, marly, Pali, parley, snarly, Somali, Svengali, tamale

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bar¦ley

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