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.
Entries linking to dormitory
late 14c., "fixed in place," from Old French dormant (12c.), present participle of dormir "to sleep," from Latin dormire "to sleep," from PIE root *drem- "to sleep" (source also of Old Church Slavonic dremati "to sleep, doze," Greek edrathon "I slept," Sanskrit drati "sleeps").
Meaning "in a resting situation, lying down with the head on the forepaws" (in heraldry, of beasts) is from c. 1500. Meaning "sleeping, asleep" is from 1620s. General sense of "in a state of rest or inactivity" is from c. 1600. Of volcanoes from 1760.
The Neapolitans are never so much afraid of this fiery Mountain as when its Flames lie, as 'twere, dormant ; for then it is that they live in constant Fear of a fresh huge Eruption, or, much worse, an Earthquake. [from the entry for "Vesuvius" in Brice's "Grand Gazetter Or Topographic Dictionary," 1760]
"covered building for the storage of farm produce," Old English bereærn "barn," literally "barley house," from bere "barley" (see barley) + aern "house; place for storing," metathesized from *rann, *rasn (source also of Old Norse rann "large house," Gothic razn "house," Old English rest "resting place").
For the formation and the second element, compare saltern "a salt-works," from Old English sealtærn "saltworks;" Old English horsern "stable." Latin cellarium was glossed by Old English hordern, and dormitorium was slæpern.
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" (with 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.