- barley1(def 1).
- a grain of barley.
- a unit of length equal to 1/3 inch (8.5 mm).
- Also barley corn. a type of basket weave that produces an allover geometric pattern.
Origin of barleycorn
- John. John Barleycorn.
Examples from the Web for barleycorn
Few of them bore the somatic signs of intimacy with Mr. Barleycorn.Idling in Italy
The lowest dimension, as in our own table of linear measure, was the Barleycorn.The Rand-McNally Bible Atlas
Jesse L. Hurlbut
"Thank you," said the woman; and she gave the fairy twelve shillings, which was the price of the barleycorn.Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales
Hans Christian Andersen
A small inflamed tumour, or boil, at the edge of the eyelid, somewhat resembling a barleycorn.Cooley's Practical Receipts, Volume II
The histology of the barleycorn is best studied by the examination of sections under the microscope.
- a grain of barley, or barley itself
- an obsolete unit of length equal to one third of an inch
Word Origin and History for barleycorn
late 14c., from barley + corn (n.). Perhaps to distinguish the barley plant or the grain from its products. In Britain and U.S., the grain is used mainly to prepare liquor, hence personification as John Barleycorn (1620) in popular ballad, and many now-obsolete figures of speech, e.g. to wear a barley cap (16c.) "to be drunk."