"covered building for the storage of farm produce," Old English bereærn "barn," literally "barley house," from bere "barley" (see barley) + aern "house," metathesized from *rann, *rasn (source also of Old Norse rann "large house," Gothic razn "house," Old English rest "resting place"). For the formation, compare Old English sealtærn "saltworks," horsern "stable." In Anglo-Saxon England, barley was a primary grain crop.
Barley was not always the only crop grown as the data recovered at Bishopstone might suggest but it is always the most commonly represented, followed by wheat and then rye and oats. [C.J. Arnold, "An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms," 1988, p.36]
Another word for "barn" in Old English was beretun, "barley enclosure" (from tun "enclosure, house"), which accounts for the many Barton place names on the English map, and the common surname. Applied from early 18c. to any large, barn-like building. Barn door has been used figuratively for "broad target" since 1670s and "great size" since 1540s. Barn-owl attested by 1670s. Barn-raising "a collective effort by neighbors or community members to erect the frame of a barn for one of them, accompanied by a social gathering" is attested by 1849.
mid-15c., "place, building, or room to sleep in," originally of a monastery or nunnery, from Latin dormitorium "sleeping place," from dormire "to sleep" (see dormant). From the vernacular Old French form dortor Middle English had the word earlier as dortour (c. 1300). Old English had slæpern "dormitory," with ending as in barn. As "residence hall of a college or university" by 1718.
The very speeches in which Jefferson and Lincoln spoke of their hope for the future are incomprehensible to most of the voters of that future, since the vocabulary and syntax of the speeches are more difficult—more obscure—than anything the voters have read or heard. For when you defeat me in an election simply because you were, as I was not, born and bred in a log cabin, it is only a question of time until you are beaten by someone whom the pigs brought up out in the yard. The truth that all men are politically equal, the recognition of the injustice of fictitious differences, becomes a belief in the fictitiousness of differences, a conviction that it is reaction or snobbishness or Fascism to believe that any individual differences of real importance can exist. [Randall Jarrell, "The Obscurity of Poetry," 1953]
mid-13c., ransaken, "to plunder; to make a search, search thoroughly," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rannsaka "to pillage," literally "search the house" (especially legally, for stolen goods), from rann "house," from Proto-Germanic *raznan (c.f. Gothic razn, Old English ærn "house;" Old English rægn "a plank, ceiling;" see barn) + saka "to search," related to Old Norse soekja "seek" (see seek). Properly it would have evolved as *ransake; the present form perhaps was influenced by sack (v.1). Related: Ransacked; ransacking.