From Middle English barly, barli, from Old English bærlīċ ("barley-like") (later referring to barley itself and grain crops of similar appearance), from bere (compare Scots bere ("six-rowed barley")), from Proto-Germanic *baraz (compare Old Norse barr, Old Norse bygg
), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰars- ("spike, prickle"). Equivalent to bere + -ly. See English brew
Modern English dictionary
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