1. A grass in the genus Hordeum native to temperate regions, having flowers in terminal, often long-awned spikes and widely cultivated for its grain.
2. The grain of H. vulgare or its varieties, used in malt production and as food for livestock and humans.
[Middle English barli, from Old English bærlic; see bhares- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.