bar·​ley | \ ˈbär-lē How to pronounce barley (audio) \

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 Jullapat highlights eight grains: barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, and wheat. Heller Mcalpin, The Christian Science Monitor, "More quality time spent in the kitchen? Yes, please.," 7 May 2021 Most farms there are family farms that are among the state’s top producers of cotton, barley, wheat and alfalfa. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Arizona positioned to take on cuts in Colorado River supply," 29 Apr. 2021 A thousand years ago Greenland really was warmer than today and supported Norse farmers who grew crops such as barley, which cannot be grown there now because of the cold. Richard Lindzen, National Review, "Climate ‘Emergency’? Not So Fast," 16 Apr. 2021 Australian exports of coal, wine, barley, cotton, lobsters and wood have either been blocked or severely disrupted, usually for unclear reasons. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, "Australian envoy reportedly describes China as 'vindictive'," 26 Mar. 2021 Use it as a cooking liquid for grains like rice or barley instead of or in addition to broth, to create a healthier, more interesting flavor. Laura Wheatman Hill,, "How to make celery juice," 20 Mar. 2021 China, his biggest market, was placing a punitive tariff on Australian barley. WSJ, "Squeezed by China’s Tariffs, Australian Farmers Cultivate New Markets," 25 Feb. 2021 Whole-Grain Barley People who ate a half-cup of whole barley regularly during a five-week USDA study saw their cholesterol levels drop by nearly 10%, compared to those who went without. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "The 15 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating," 12 Apr. 2021 One cup of barley contains around 32 grams of fiber. Angela Watson,, "Foods that boost the immune system," 27 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for barley

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for barley

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barley.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce barley (audio) \

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 How to pronounce barley (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on barley

Nglish: Translation of barley for Spanish Speakers

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

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