barleycorn

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barleycorn

1. a grain of barley, or barley itself
2. an obsolete unit of length equal to one third of an inch
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
Yet when I walk with John Barleycorn I suffer all the damnation of intellectual pessimism.
"But," I hastened to add (I always hasten to add), "John Barleycorn must have his due.
"The 'Memoirs of an Alcoholic,'" I sneered--or, rather, John Barleycorn sneered; for he sat with me there at table in my pleasant, philanthropic jingle, and it is a trick of John Barleycorn to turn the smile to a sneer without an instant's warning.