bar·​ley | \ˈbär-lē \

Definition of barley 

: a cereal grass (genus Hordeum and especially H. vulgare) having the flowers in dense spikes with long awns and three spikelets at each joint of the rachis also : its seed used especially in malt beverages, breakfast foods, and stock feeds

Examples of barley in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Now for the basics: Whiskey is a distilled spirit made from fermented grains including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How to Drink Whiskey: A Complete Guide," 1 Oct. 2018 And the beer, still made in strict accordance with the Bavarian Purity Laws of 1516, is just water, barley, and hops. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Perfect Long Weekend in Bavaria," 17 Sep. 2018 Malt Whiskey: Must contain at least 51 percent malted barley. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How to Drink Whiskey: A Complete Guide," 1 Oct. 2018 And, just to keep all that good stuff in, the formula is laced with a barrier-protecting blend of barley and cucumber extracts. Sophie Wirt, Allure, "Clinique Launches Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly — a Gel Version of Its Classic Moisturizer," 6 Aug. 2018 These plant products are the likely ancestors of modern grains like barley and oats. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Archeologists Find World's Oldest Bread," 17 July 2018 Try adding raisins or dried apricots to quick-cooking barley and serving it as a side dish. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "The 11 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating," 17 July 2018 The dry conditions in Western Australia have forced growers to substitute barley for canola, the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia said Friday in a report. Rebecca Keenan,, "Australian Farmers Wait for Rain as GrainCorp Warns of Dry Start," 11 May 2018 Other drinks include a basic selection of beer and wine, soft drinks and barley tea (the latter included with every meal on request). Kate Washington, sacbee, "Dining review: Blue House is a fun and filling option for cook-at-your-table Korean BBQ | The Sacramento Bee," 26 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barley.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of barley

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for barley

Middle English barly, from Old English bærlic of barley; akin to Old English bere barley, Latin far spelt

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Statistics for barley

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for barley

The first known use of barley was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for barley



English Language Learners Definition of barley

: a kind of grain used for food and to make beer and whiskey; also : the plant on which this grain grows


bar·​ley | \ˈbär-lē \

Kids Definition of barley

: a cereal grass grown for its grain which is used mostly to feed farm animals or make malt


bar·​ley | \ˈbär-lē \

Medical Definition of barley 

: a cereal grass (genus Hordeum, especially H. vulgare) having the flowers in dense spikes with long awns also : its seed used in malt beverages and in breakfast foods and stock feeds

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More from Merriam-Webster on barley

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with barley

Spanish Central: Translation of barley

Nglish: Translation of barley for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barley for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about barley

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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