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John Barleycorn

a personification of barley as used in malt liquor, of malt liquor itself, or of any intoxicating liquor.
Origin of John Barleycorn
First recorded in 1610-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for John Barleycorn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Laban told a little more of his battle with John Barleycorn.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • I guess they have got a little too much John Barleycorn on board!

  • It's the same mystery that's ruined a lot of other men—John Barleycorn!

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman

    Albert Walter Tolman
  • "It's no go, old boy," he smiled, apostrophizing John Barleycorn.

    The Promise James B. Hendryx
  • Skullen must have 134 forgotten his old nemesis, John Barleycorn.

    Lefty Locke Pitcher-Manager

    Burt L. Standish
  • His tavern, the Sir John Barleycorn, did not engross all his activities.

    The Soul of Susan Yellam

    Horace Annesley Vachell
  • I happened into the Sir John Barleycorn just afore seein' you, sir.

    The Soul of Susan Yellam

    Horace Annesley Vachell
  • But he liked to meet his cronies at the Sir John Barleycorn.

    The Soul of Susan Yellam

    Horace Annesley Vachell
  • But he and John Barleycorn were strangers now; they were not on speaking terms.

    Gabriel Tolliver Joel Chandler Harris
British Dictionary definitions for John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn

generally (jocular) the personification of alcohol, esp of malt spirits
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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