barrow (n.1)

"flat, rectangular frame with projecting handles for carrying a load," c. 1300, barewe, probably from an unrecorded Old English *bearwe "basket, barrow," from beran "to bear, to carry" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry"). The original (hand-barrow) had no wheel and required two persons to carry it.

barrow (n.2)

"mound, hill, grave-mound," Old English beorg (West Saxon), berg (Anglian) "barrow, mountain, hill, mound," from Proto-Germanic *bergaz (source also of Middle Dutch berch, Old Saxon, Old High German berg "mountain," Old Frisian berch, birg "mountain, mountainous area," Old Norse bjarg "rock, mountain"), from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts. Obsolete by c. 1400 except in place-names and southwest England dialect; it was revived by modern archaeology. 

In place-names used of small continuously curving hills, smaller than a dun, with the summit typically occupied by a single farmstead or by a village church with the village beside the hill, and also of burial mounds. [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]

The meaning "mound erected over a grave" was in late Old English. Barrow-wight is recorded by 1869 in Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris's translation of the Icelandic saga of Grettir the Strong. 

updated on October 04, 2022