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[bahrn] /bɑrn/
a building for storing hay, grain, etc., and often for housing livestock.
a very large garage for buses, trucks, etc.; carbarn.
verb (used with object)
to store (hay, grain, etc.) in a barn.
Origin of barn1
before 950; Middle English bern, Old English berern (bere (see barley1) + ern, ǣrn house, cognate with Old Frisian fīaern cowhouse, Old High German erin, Gothic razn, Old Norse rann house; cf. ransack, rest1)
Related forms
barnlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for barnlike
Historical Examples
  • A big, barnlike structure had been erected which was called "the tabernacle."

    On the Firing Line in Education Adoniram Judson Ladd
  • Its exhibits were simple, the buildings that housed them fantastic and barnlike.

  • He took out his watch and looked at it, then his eye swept the broad row of trains in the gloomy, barnlike station.

    The Short Line War Samuel Merwin
  • Gwynette had not liked the room when she first arrived, as it was, she declared, too “barnlike” in its barrenness.

    Sisters Grace May North
  • This is a long fur-edged garment, very warm and pleasant in winter when the castle is a barnlike place.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony William Stearns Davis
  • They appeared together in the church, a barnlike edifice, with great galleries half-way between the floor and the roof.

    Little Rivers Henry van Dyke
  • The room, on the upper floor just opposite the hall where we have the chorus rehearsals, is large and barnlike.

    An American Girl in Munich Mabel W. Daniels
  • For it was before the day that those two mammoth and barnlike terminals, the North and the South stations, had been built.

  • Fur rugs covered the floor, the walls, the benches, the berth beds lining the sides of the barnlike Russian barracks.

    Vikings of the Pacific

    Agnes C. Laut
  • Just dairy sounds so milky and barnlike; and I don't like 'sunbeam book' real well, either.

    The Lilac Lady Ruth Alberta Brown
British Dictionary definitions for barnlike


a large farm outbuilding, used chiefly for storing hay, grain, etc, but also for housing livestock
(US & Canadian) a large shed for sheltering railroad cars, trucks, etc
any large building, esp an unattractive one
(modifier) relating to a system of poultry farming in which birds are allowed to move freely within a barn: barn eggs
Word Origin
Old English beren, from bere barley + ærn room; see barley1


a unit of nuclear cross section equal to 1028 square metre b
Word Origin
C20: from barn1; so called because of the relatively large cross section
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barnlike



Old English bereærn "barn," literally "barley house," from bere "barley" (see barley) + aern "house," metathesized from *rann, *rasn (cf. Old Norse rann, Gothic razn "house," Old English rest "resting place;" sealtærn "saltworks").

Barley was not always the only crop grown as the data recovered at Bishopstone might suggest but it is always the most commonly represented, followed by wheat and then rye and oats. [C.J. Arnold, "An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms," 1988, p.36]
Another word for "barn" in Old English was beretun, "barley enclosure" (from tun "enclosure, house"), which accounts for the many Barton place names on the English map, and the common surname. Barn door used figuratively for "broad target" and "great size" since 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for barnlike
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with barnlike
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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