barb (v.) Look up barb at
late 15c., "to clip, mow" (a sense now archaic or obsolete); see barb (n.). Meaning "to fit or furnish with barbs" is from 1610s. Related: Barbed; barbing.
barb (n.) Look up barb at
late 14c., "barb of an arrow," from Old French barbe "beard, beard-like appendage" (11c.), from Latin barba "beard," from Proto-Italic *farfa- "beard," which probably is cognate with Old English beard, from PIE root *bhardha- "beard" (see beard (n.)).
Barbados Look up Barbados at
probably from Portuguese las barbadas "the bearded;" the island so called because vines or moss hung densely from its trees, or else for banyan trees. Related: Barbadian (1732).
Barbara Look up Barbara at
fem. proper name, from Latin, fem. of barbarus "strange, foreign, barbarous," from Greek barbaros (see barbarian (n.)). For women, unlike men, the concept of "alien" presumably could be felt as "exotic" and thus make an appealing name. Popularized as a Christian name by the legend of Saint Barbara, early 4c. martyr, whose cult flourished from 7c. The common Middle English form was Barbary. A top 10 name in popularity for girls born in the U.S. between 1927 and 1958.
barbarian (n.) Look up barbarian at
early 15c., in reference to classical history, "a non-Roman or non-Greek," earlier barbar (late 14c.) "non-Roman or non-Greek person; non-Christian; person speaking a language different from one's own," from Medieval Latin barbarinus (source of Old French barbarin "Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian"), from Latin barbarus "strange, foreign, barbarous," from Greek barbaros "foreign, strange; ignorant," from PIE root *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners (compare Sanskrit barbara- "stammering," also "non-Aryan," Latin balbus "stammering," Czech blblati "to stammer").

Greek barbaroi (plural noun) meant "all that are not Greek," but especially the Medes and Persians; originally it was not entirely pejorative, but its sense became moreso after the Persian wars. The Romans (technically themselves barbaroi) took up the word and applied it to tribes or nations which had no Greek or Roman accomplishments.

Also in Middle English (c. 1400) "native of the Barbary coast;" meaning "rude, wild person" is from 1610s. Occasionally in 19c. English distinguished from savage (n.) as being a step closer to civilization. Sometimes, in reference to Renaissance Italy, "a non-Italian." It also was used to translate the usual Chinese word of contempt for foreigners.
Barbarian applies to whatever pertains to the life of an uncivilized people, without special reference to its moral aspects. Barbarous properly expresses the bad side of barbarian life and character, especially its inhumanity or cruelty: as, a barbarous act. Barbaric expresses the characteristic love of barbarians for adornment, magnificence, noise, etc., but it is not commonly applied to persons: it implies the lack of cultivated taste ....
barbarian (adj.) Look up barbarian at
mid-14c., "foreign, of another nation or culture," from Medieval Latin barbarinus (see barbarian (n.)). Meaning "of or pertaining to savages, rude, uncivilized" is from 1590s.
barbaric (adj.) Look up barbaric at
late 15c., "uncultured, uncivilized, unpolished," from Middle French barbarique (15c.), from Latin barbaricus "foreign, strange, outlandish," from Greek barbarikos "like a foreigner," from barbaros "foreign, rude" (see barbarian (n.)). Meaning "pertaining to or characteristic of barbarians" is from 1660s. Related: Barbarically.
barbarism (n.) Look up barbarism at
mid-15c., "uncivilized or rude nature, ignorance or want of culture," from French barbarisme "barbarism of language" (13c.), from Latin barbarismus, from Greek barbarismos "foreign speech," from barbarizein "to do as a foreigner does," from barbaros (see barbarian (n.)). Only of speech in Greek, Latin, and French; sense extension to "uncivilized condition" is in English. In English from 1570s as "offense against purity or style of language" (originally the use of foreign words in Latin and Greek); sense of "an expression or word not in accord with the proper usage of a language" is from 1580s.
barbarity (n.) Look up barbarity at
1560s, "want of civilization," from Latin barbarus (see barbarian (n.)) + -ity. Meaning "savage cruelty, inhuman conduct" is recorded from 1680s.
barbarize (v.) Look up barbarize at
1640s, "speak or write like a barbarian," also "make barbarous," from Late Latin barbarizare, from Greek barbarizein "to do as a foreigner does," from barbaros "foreign, rude" (see barbarian (n.)). Meaning "corrupt a language by departing from standards" is from 1728. Related: Barbarized; barbarizing; barbarization.
barbarous (adj.) Look up barbarous at
c. 1400, "uncivilized, uncultured, ignorant," from Latin barbarus "strange, foreign, barbarous," from Greek barbaros "foreign, uncivilized" (see barbarian (n.)). Meaning "not Greek or Latin" (of words or language) is from c. 1500; that of "savagely cruel" is from 1580s. Related: Barbarously; barbarousness.
Barbary Look up Barbary at
c. 1300, "foreign lands" (especially non-Christian lands), from Latin barbaria "foreign country," from barbarus "strange, foreign" (see barbarian (n.)). Meaning "Saracen nations on coastal North Africa" is attested from 1590s, via French (Old French barbarie), from Arabic Barbar, Berber, ancient Arabic name for the inhabitants of North Africa beyond Egypt.

Perhaps a native name, perhaps an Arabic word, from barbara "to babble confusedly," but this might be ultimately from Greek barbaria. "The actual relations (if any) of the Arabic and Gr[eek] words cannot be settled; but in European langs. barbaria, Barbarie, Barbary, have from the first been treated as identical with L. barbaria, Byzantine Gr[eek] barbaria land of barbarians" [OED].
barbecue (v.) Look up barbecue at
"to dry or roast on a gridiron," 1660s, from the source of barbecue (n.). Related: Barbecued; barbecuing.
barbecue (n.) Look up barbecue at
1690s, "framework for grilling meat, fish, etc.," from American Spanish barbacoa, from Arawakan (Haiti) barbakoa "framework of sticks set upon posts," the raised wooden structure the West Indians used to either sleep on or cure meat. Sense of "outdoor feast of roasted meat or fish as a social entertainment" is from 1733; modern popular noun sense of "grill for cooking over an open fire" is from 1931.
barbed wire (n.) Look up barbed wire at
also barb wire, "fencing wire with sharp edges or points," 1863, American English; see barb (n.) + wire (n.). Originally for the restraint of animals.
barbell (n.) Look up barbell at
exercise device, 1870, from bar (n.1) + ending from dumbbell.
barber (n.) Look up barber at
"one whose occupation is to chave the beard and cut and dress the hair," c. 1300, from Anglo-French barbour (attested as a surname from early 13c.), from Old French barbeor, barbieor (13c., Modern French barbier, which has a more restricted sense than the English word), from Vulgar Latin *barbatorem, from Latin barba "beard" (see barb (n.)). Originally also regular practitioners of minor surgery, they were restricted to hair-cutting, blood-letting, and dentistry under Henry VIII. The barber's pole (1680s) is in imitation of the ribbon used to bind the arm of one who has been bled.
barber (v.) Look up barber at
"to shave and dress the hair," c.1600, from barber (n.). Related: Barbered; barbering.
barber-shop (n.) Look up barber-shop at
1570s, from barber + shop (n.). Earlier in same sense was barbery (c. 1500). Barber-shop in reference to close harmony male vocal quartets, it is attested from 1910; the custom of barber's keeping a musical instrument in their shops so waiting customers could entertain themselves is an old one, but the musical product formerly had a low reputation and barber's music (c. 1660) was "wretched, poorly performed music."
barbican (n.) Look up barbican at
"outer fortification of a city or castle," mid-13c., from Old French barbacane "exterior fortification" (12c.), a general Romanic word, said to be ultimately from Arabic or Persian (compare bab-khanah "gate-house"); according to Watkins from Old Iranian compound *pari-varaka-, from *pari- "around" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, around") + *varaka-, from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover."
Barbie Look up Barbie at
1959, trademark name (reg. U.S.). Supposedly named after the daughter of its creator, U.S. businesswoman Ruth Handler (1916-2002); see Barbara.
barbiturate (n.) Look up barbiturate at
1928 (morphine barbiturate is from 1918), with chemical ending -ate (3) + barbituric (1865), from German barbitur in Barbitursäure "barbituric acid," coined 1863 by chemist Adolf von Baeyer (1835-1917). The reason for the name is unknown; some suggest it is from the woman's name Barbara, or perhaps from Latin barbata, in Medieval Latin usnea barbata, literally "bearded moss." Second element is because it was obtained from uric acid. Related: Barbitol.
Barcelona Look up Barcelona at
city in Spain, said to have been named for Carthaginian general Hamlicar Barca, who is supposed to have founded it 3c. B.C.E.
bard (n.) Look up bard at
"ancient Celtic minstrel-poet," mid-15c., from Scottish, from Old Celtic bardos "poet, singer," from Celtic *bardo-, possibly from PIE *gwredho- "he who makes praises," suffixed form of root *gwere- (2) "to favor."

In historical times, a term of great respect among the Welsh, but one of contempt among the Scots (who considered them itinerant troublemakers).
All vagabundis, fulis, bardis, ſcudlaris, and ſiclike idill pepill, ſall be brint on the cheek, and ſcourgit with wandis, except thay find ſum craft to win thair living. [from a 16c. list of historical laws of Scottish kings, in Sir James Balfour, "Practicks: Or, a System of the More Ancient Law of Scotland," 1754]
Subsequently idealized by Scott in the more ancient sense of "lyric poet, singer." Poetic use of the word in English is from Greek bardos, Latin bardus, both from Gaulish.
bardic (adj.) Look up bardic at
"pertaining to or of the nature of a bard or bards," 1775, from bard + -ic.
bardolatry (n.) Look up bardolatry at
"worship of Shakespeare" (the "Bard of Avon" since 1789), 1901, from bard + -latry, with connective -o-.
bare (adj.) Look up bare at
Old English bær "naked, uncovered, unclothed," from Proto-Germanic *bazaz (source also of German bar, Old Norse berr, Dutch baar), from PIE *bhoso- "naked" (source also of Armenian bok "naked;" Old Church Slavonic bosu, Lithuanian basas "barefoot"). Meaning "sheer, absolute" (c. 1200) is from the notion of "complete in itself."
bare (v.) Look up bare at
"make bare, uncover," Old English barian, from bare (adj.). Related: Bared; baring.
bare-handed (adj.) Look up bare-handed at
also barehanded, "with uncovered hands," mid-15c., from bare (adj.) + -handed.
bare-headed (adj.) Look up bare-headed at
1520s, from bare (adj.) + -headed.
bareback (adj.) Look up bareback at
"riding or performing on an unsaddled ('bare-backed') horse," 1560s, from bare (adj.) + back (n.).
barefaced (adj.) Look up barefaced at
1580s, "with face uncovered or shaven;" see bare (adj.) + face (n.). Thus, "unconcealed" (c. 1600), and, in a bad sense, "shameless, audacious" (1670s). Compare effrontery. The half-French bare-vis (adj.) conveyed the same sense in Middle English. Related: Barefacedly.
barefoot (adj.) Look up barefoot at
"without shoes and stockings," Old English bærfot; see bare (adj.) + foot (n.). Similar compounds in other Germanic languages.
barely (adv.) Look up barely at
Old English bærlice "openly, clear, public;" see bare (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "only just, no more than," is recorded from late 15c. In Middle English it also could mean "solely, exclusively."
bareness (n.) Look up bareness at
early 15c., from bare (adj.) + -ness.
barf (v.) Look up barf at
"to vomit or retch,"1960, American English slang, probably imitative. Related: Barfed; barfing. Barf bag "air sickness pouch" attested from 1966.
barfly (n.) Look up barfly at
"habitual drunkard," 1910, from bar (n.2) + fly (n.).
bargain (n.) Look up bargain at
mid-14c., "business transaction or agreement; negotiations, dealing," also "that which is acquired by bargaining," from Old French bargaine "business, trade, transaction, deal," from bargaignier (see bargain (v.)). Meaning "article priced for special sale, something bought or sold at a low price" is from 1899; a bargain basement (1899) originally was a basement floor in a store where bargains were displayed. Into the bargain "over and above what was stipulated," hence "moreover," is from 1630s.
bargain (v.) Look up bargain at
c. 1400, "engage in business transactions, discuss or arrange terms of a transaction; to vend or sell," from Old French bargaignier "to haggle over the price" (12c., Modern French barguigner), perhaps from Frankish *borganjan "to lend" or some other Germanic source, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *borgan "to pledge, lend, borrow" (source also of Old High German borgen; Old English borgian; from PIE root *bhergh- (1) "to hide, protect;" compare borrow).

Diez and others suggest that the French word comes from Late Latin barca "a barge," because it "carries goods to and fro." There are difficulties with both suggestions. Related: Bargained; bargaining. To bargain for "arrange for beforehand" is from 1801.
barge (n.) Look up barge at
early 14c., "seagoing vessel of moderate size with sails," from Old French barge "boat, ship," Old Provençal barca, from Medieval Latin barga, perhaps from Celtic, or perhaps from Latin *barica, from Greek baris "Egyptian boat," from Coptic bari "small boat." From late 14c. as "river craft; barge used on state occasions; raft for ferrying;" meaning "flat-bottomed freight boat" dates from late 15c. In former times also "a magnificently adorned, elegant boat of state," for royalty, magistrates, etc. (1580s).
barge (v.) Look up barge at
"to journey by barge," 1590s, from barge (n.). The form barge into and the sense "crash heavily into," in reference to the rough handling of barges, attested by 1898. Related: Barged; barging.
bargeman (n.) Look up bargeman at
mid-15c., from barge (n.) + man (n.).
bariatric (adj.) Look up bariatric at
"of or pertaining to obesity," 1976, from Greek baros "weight, a weight, burden," related to barys "heavy," from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy" + -iatric.
barista (n.) Look up barista at
"bartender in a coffee shop," as a purely English word in use by 1992, from Italian, where it is said to derive ultimately from English bar (n.2), as borrowed into Italian. The word is of generic gender and may be applied with equal accuracy to women and men (it is said that the typical barista in Italy is a man).
baritone (n.) Look up baritone at
c. 1600, "male voice between tenor and bass," from Italian baritono, from Greek barytonos "deep-toned, deep-sounding," from barys "heavy, deep," also, of sound, "strong, deep, bass" (from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy") + tonos "tone," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch."

Technically, "ranging from lower A in bass clef to lower F in treble clef." Meaning "singer having a baritone voice" is from 1821. As a type of brass band instrument, it is attested from 1949. As an adjective, 1729 in reference to the voice, 1786 of musical instruments (originally the saxophone).
barium (n.) Look up barium at
1808, coined in Modern Latin by its discoverer, English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), because it was present in the mineral barytes "heavy spar" (barium sulphate), so named by Lavoisier from Greek barys "heavy," from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy." The metal is actually relatively light. With chemical ending -ium. Related: Baric.
bark (n.3) Look up bark at
dog sound, Old English beorc, from bark (v.). Paired and compared with bite (n.) since at least 1660s; the proverb is older: "Timid dogs bark worse than they bite" was in Latin (Canis timidus vehementius latrat quam mordet, Quintius Curtius).
bark (v.2) Look up bark at
"strip off the bark" (of a tree), 1540s, from bark (n.). Transferred sense "strip or rub off the skin" is from 1850. It also meant "kill a squirrel or other small animal by percussive force by shooting the bullet into the tree immediately below it," thus preserving the specimen intact (the technique is attested by 1828). Related: Barked; barking.
bark (n.2) Look up bark at
"any small vessel or ship," early 15c., from Middle French barque "boat" (15c.), from Late Latin barca, which is probably cognate with Vulgar Latin *barica (see barge (n.)). More precise sense of "three-masted ship fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzenmast" (17c.) often is spelled barque to distinguish it.
bark (n.1) Look up bark at
"tree skin, hard covering of plants," c. 1300, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse börkr "bark," from Proto-Germanic *barkuz, which probably is related to birch and Low German borke. The native word was rind.