John Barleycorn noun whisky: I did not want to go to the Highlands where Mother’s relations lived. They were darling people but rather fond of John Barleycorn. la18-. etymology: Scots; personification of barley as the grain from which malt liquor is made; attested by JS and BW note:

Lexicon Balatronicum (1811) attests Sir John Barleycorn as ‘strong beer’.