barb (v.) Look up barb at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "to clip, mow;" see barb (n.). Meaning "to fit or furnish with barbs" is from 1610s. Related: Barbed; barbing.
Barbados Look up Barbados at Dictionary.com
probably from Portuguese las barbados "the bearded;" the island so called because vines or moss hung densely from the trees. An inhabitant was called a Barbadian (1732).
Barbara Look up Barbara at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Latin, fem. of barbarus "strange, foreign, barbarous," from Greek barbaros (see barbarian). 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 was popular 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 (adj.) Look up barbarian at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Medieval Latin barbarinus (source of Old French barbarin "Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian"), from Latin barbaria "foreign country," 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 (n.) meant "all that are not Greek," but especially the Medes and Persians. Originally not entirely pejorative, its sense darkened 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. The noun is from late 14c., "person speaking a language different from one's own," also (c.1400) "native of the Barbary coast;" meaning "rude, wild person" is from 1610s.
barbaric (adj.) Look up barbaric at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "uncultured, uncivilized, unpolished," from French barbarique (15c.), from Latin barbaricus "foreign, strange, outlandish," from Greek barbarikos "like a foreigner," from barbaros "foreign, rude" (see barbarian). Meaning "pertaining to barbarians" is from 1660s.
barbarism (n.) Look up barbarism at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "uncivilized or rude nature," from French barbarisme (13c.), from Latin barbarismus, from Greek barbarismos "foreign speech," from barbarizein "to do as a foreigner does" (see barbarian). Only of speech in Greek, Latin, and French; sense extended in English to "uncivilized condition."
barbarity (n.) Look up barbarity at Dictionary.com
1560s, "want of civilization," from Latin barbarus (see barbarian) + -ity. Meaning "savage cruelty" is recorded from 1680s.
barbarous (adj.) Look up barbarous at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "uncivilized, uncultured, ignorant," from Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros (see barbarian). Meaning "not Greek or Latin" (of words or language) is from c.1500; that of "savagely cruel" is from 1580s.
Barbary Look up Barbary at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "foreign lands" (especially non-Christian lands), from Latin barbaria (see barbarian). Meaning "Saracens living in 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 (n.) Look up barbecue at Dictionary.com
1650s, "framework for grilling meat, fish, etc.," from American Spanish barbacoa, from Arawakan (Haiti) barbakoa "framework of sticks," the raised wooden structure the Indians used to either sleep on or cure meat. Sense of "outdoor meal 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.
barbecue (v.) Look up barbecue at Dictionary.com
1660s, from barbecue (n.). Related: Barbecued; barbecuing.
barbed wire (n.) Look up barbed wire at Dictionary.com
also barb wire, "fencing wire with sharp edges or points," 1863, American English, from barb + wire (n.).
barbell (n.) Look up barbell at Dictionary.com
1887, from bar (n.1) + ending from dumbbell.
barber (n.) Look up barber at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Anglo-French barbour (attested as a surname from early 13c.), from Old French barbeor, barbieor (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 surgery, they were restricted to haircutting and dentistry under Henry VIII.
barber-shop (n.) Look up barber-shop at Dictionary.com
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 had a low reputation and barber's music (c.1660) was "wretched, poorly performed music."
barbican (n.) Look up barbican at Dictionary.com
"outer fortification of a city or castle," mid-13c., from Old French barbacane (12c.), a general Romanic word, perhaps ultimately from Arabic or Persian (compare bab-khanah "gate-house"). Watkins identifies it as from Old Iranian *pari-varaka "protective," from *wor-o-, suffixed variant form of PIE root *wer- (5) "to cover" (see wier).
Barbie Look up Barbie at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
1928 (morphine barbiturate is from 1918), from German, coined 1863 by chemist Adolf von Baeyer (1835-1917) from Barbitursäure "barbituric acid," itself coined by Baeyer, perhaps from 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. With chemical ending -ate (3).
Barcelona Look up Barcelona at Dictionary.com
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 Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Scottish, from Old Celtic bardos "poet, singer," from PIE root *gwer- "to lift up the voice, praise." In historical times, a term of contempt among the Scots (who considered them itinerant troublemakers), but one of great respect among the Welsh.
All vagabundis, fulis, bardis, scudlaris, and siclike idill pepill, sall be brint on the cheek. [local Scottish ordinance, c.1500]
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 Dictionary.com
1775, from bard + -ic.
bardolatry (n.) Look up bardolatry at Dictionary.com
"worship of Shakespeare (the 'Bard of Avon')," 1901, from bard + -latry.
bare (v.) Look up bare at Dictionary.com
Old English barian, from bare (adj.). Related: Bared; baring.
bare (adj.) Look up bare at Dictionary.com
Old English bær "naked, uncovered, unclothed," from Proto-Germanic *bazaz (cognates: German bar, Old Norse berr, Dutch baar), from PIE *bhosos (cognates: Armenian bok "naked;" Old Church Slavonic bosu, Lithuanian basas "barefoot"). Meaning "sheer, absolute" (c.1200) is from the notion of "complete in itself."
bareback (adj.) Look up bareback at Dictionary.com
1560s, of riding, from bare (adj.) + back (n.).
barefaced (adj.) Look up barefaced at Dictionary.com
1580s, "with face uncovered or shaven;" see bare (adj.) + face (n.). Thus, "unconcealed" (c.1600), and, in a bad sense, "shameless" (1670s). Compare effrontery. The half-French bare-vis (adj.) conveyed the same sense in Middle English.
barefoot (adj.) Look up barefoot at Dictionary.com
Old English bærfot; see bare (adj.) + foot (n.).
barehanded (adj.) Look up barehanded at Dictionary.com
also bare-handed, mid-15c., from bare (adj.) + handed.
barely (adv.) Look up barely at Dictionary.com
Old English bærlice "openly, clear, public;" see bare (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "only, just" is recorded from late 15c.; that of "merely, simply" is from 1570s. In 15c. it also could mean "naked."
bareness (n.) Look up bareness at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from bare (adj.) + -ness.
barf (v.) Look up barf at Dictionary.com
"to vomit or retch,"1960, American English slang, probably imitative. Related: Barfed; barfing. As a noun, from 1966. Barf bag "air sickness pouch" attested from 1966.
barfly (n.) Look up barfly at Dictionary.com
"habitual drunkard," 1910, from bar (n.2) + fly (n.).
bargain (v.) Look up bargain at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French bargaignier (12c., Modern French barguigner) "to haggle over the price," perhaps from Frankish *borganjan "to lend" or some other Germanic source, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *borgan (cognates: Old High German borgen; Old English borgian, source of borrow). Another suggestion is 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.
bargain (n.) Look up bargain at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "business transaction or agreement," also "that which is acquired by bargaining," from Old French bargaine, from bargaignier (see bargain (v.)). Meaning "article priced for special sale" is from 1899. A bargain basement (1899) originally was a basement floor in a store where bargains were displayed.
barge (n.) Look up barge at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "small seagoing vessel with sails," from Old French barge, 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." Meaning "flat-bottomed freight boat" dates from late 15c.
barge (v.) Look up barge at Dictionary.com
"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, dates from 1830s, American English. Related: Barged; barging.
bariatric (adj.) Look up bariatric at Dictionary.com
1976, from Greek baros "weight," related to barys "heavy" (see grave (adj.)) + -iatric.
barista (n.) Look up barista at Dictionary.com
"bartender in a coffee shop," as a purely English word in use by 1992, from Italian, where it is said to derive ultimately from the 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 Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Italian baritono, from Greek barytonos "deep-toned, deep-sounding," from barys "heavy, deep," also, of sound, "strong, deep, bass" (see grave (adj.)) + tonos "tone" (see tenet). 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.
barium (n.) Look up barium at Dictionary.com
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" (see grave (adj.)). The metal is actually relatively light.
bark (n.1) Look up bark at Dictionary.com
"tree skin," c.1300, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse borkr "bark," from Proto-Germanic *barkuz, which probably is related to birch and Low German borke. The native word was rind.
bark (n.2) Look up bark at Dictionary.com
"any small ship," early 15c., from Middle French barque (15c.), from Late Latin barca (c.400 C.E.), probably cognate with Vulgar Latin *barica (see barge). More precise sense of "three-masted ship" (17c.) often is spelled barque to distinguish it.
bark (v.) Look up bark at Dictionary.com
in reference to a dog sound, Old English beorcan "to bark," from Proto-Germanic *berkan (cognates: Old Norse berkja "to bark"), of echoic origin. Related: Barked; barking. To bark up the wrong tree is U.S. colloquial, first attested 1832, from notion of hounds following the wrong scent.
bark (n.3) Look up bark at Dictionary.com
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).
barkeep (n.) Look up barkeep at Dictionary.com
1846, probably short for barkeeper (1712); from bar (n.2) + agent noun of keep (v.).
barker (n.) Look up barker at Dictionary.com
"noisy fellow," late 15c., agent noun from bark (v.). Specific sense of "loud assistant in an auction, store, or show" is from 1690s.
barley (n.) Look up barley at Dictionary.com
Old English bærlic, originally an adjective, "of barley," from bere "barley" (from Proto-Germanic *bariz, *baraz) + -lic "body, like." First element is related to Old Norse barr "barley," and cognate with Latin far (genitive farris) "coarse grain, meal;" probably from PIE *bhars- "bristle, point, projection" (see bristle (n.)).
barleycorn (n.) Look up barleycorn at Dictionary.com
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, such as to wear a barley cap (16c.) "to be drunk."
barm (n.) Look up barm at Dictionary.com
Old English beorma "yeast, leaven," also "head of a beer," from Proto-Germanic *bermon- (cognates: Dutch berm, Middle Low German barm), from PIE root *bher- (4) "to cook, bake" (cognates: Latin fermentum "substance causing fermentation," Sanskrit bhurati "moves convulsively, quivers," Middle Irish berbaim "I boil, seethe;" see brew (v.)).
barmaid (n.) Look up barmaid at Dictionary.com
1650s, from bar (n.2) + maid.