Bard vs. Barred

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Bard and barred are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of bard and barred, where these two terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A bard is a poet, especially one who recites epic stories. In medieval times a bard was a professional who made his living by telling stories in verse and singing songs. Originally, a bard was employed by a prominent family in order to compose eulogies and epic poems recounting the glorious deeds of the family’s ancestors. In time, bard came to mean a poet and singer who traveled from town to town in order to make his living. Eventually, bard came to mean a well-known author, especially a poet or a poetic writer of prose. William Shakespeare is often referred to as The Bard or the Bard of Avon. The word bard is derived from the Gaelic bàrd or the Welsh bardd.

Barred may be the past tense of the word bar, meaning to fasten strips across something, to prohibit something, to prevent something or exclude something. Barred is also used as an adjective to describe something that has strips fastened across it, or to describe something that has bands of color. The word barred is derived from the Old French word barre meaning barrier or gate. Related words are bar, bars, barring.


The great laurel affirmed for many of us (though not all) that the legendary singer-songwriter was on a par with the immortal bards; the cultural stickiness of Dylan’s classic songs and phrases had told us so for decades. (USA Today)

Two foreign human rights activists were barred from seeing detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Sunday, as the world was observing International Human Rights Day. (The Inquirer)

A barred owl made a surprise appearance in broad daylight in downtown Vancouver this week, even stopping to show off its successful kill to passing pedestrians. (The Vancouver Sun)

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