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interjection a cry indicating that you are 'safe' during a game. Compare bar1, barleys, bars. [? French parlez, parley]
Contributor's comments: "Barley, Charlie" used frequently in the sense of: You're trying to fool me!

Contributor's comments: Won't have a "bar" of this, plus 'l' and 'ie'.

Contributor's comments: As a child, in the UK, playing "Tick" (tiggy or chasey?), we would touch and hold on to something green in colour and say 'barley green' the chaser would then leave you alone and head for someone else. As I recall the green had to be an object, leaves and grass didn't count. Luckily the local council painted lamp posts green.

Contributor's comments: In Victoria when I was a child, barley was an immunity to being tagged. Often a fence, a chair, a tree gave the immunity which was maintained only while touching it. A variant game called off-ground tiggy meant that you were barley while on a chair of if you jumped as you were being tigged. Back then when you were successfully tigged you were "he". I now live in Brisbane where my children play tiggy or tag, but their immunity is called being "on bar". When they are tagged, they become "it" or (I think this is an Americanism) "up". I am fairly sure that in Sydney the game is called chasey.

Contributor's comments: Barley! maybe similar to removing the bails in kids cricket in order to halt the play.

Contributor's comments: According to a caller on Radio National talkback, 9 Apr 02, this is a contraction of "by your leave". [a bit like "God be with ye" contracting to "Goodbye", isn't it?]

Contributor's comments: It was hard to find this word on your site as I did not expect it spelt this way, but found it though the marvellous Australex site and came back - I'm intrigued because it's used here in Perth & has been for many generations - and would have come from Norman (French) English - (bar - I'll have to research this bit) - "laisse" meaning release/let go/free - but as I am a recent English immigrant - it certainly was not a south of England child slang word in the 60's - so intrigued as to where & how it came into Western Australia.

Contributor's comments: As a child the cry of barley was accompanied by the crossing of the first two fingers of both hands which signified that you couldn't be 'tigged'.

Contributor's comments: Growing up near Melb. in the 1940s, we used "barley" but always in the singular; I had never heard "barleys" used in this fashion.

Contributor's comments: When I was in primary school in north east Vic during the 1950s and 1960s Barley was used during chasey or chasing games. The person being chased usually had to have a good reason for calling Barley (stitch, undone shoe-lace, injury). Too frequent calls earned social opprobrium. As I recall, one didn't have to do anything but call 'Barley' very loudly and stand in the one spot, ie, you couldn't run off to safety.

Contributor's comments: When we used to play chasey we chose 'barley' before hand. If we were having waterfights the tap was barley so we could fill up without getting attacked.

Contributor's comments: In Red Cliffs (near Mildura) during the 80's, it was always "barleys".

Contributor's comments: "When I was in primary school in 1950s & 1960s in NE VIC, etc." I agree fully with this contrtibution altho' I was in Melb. at same time.

Contributor's comments: "Barley" as an immunity when playing games like "It" is also definitely used in Tasmania.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Melb and Syd and never heard the plural form till now. Apart from claiming immunity during chasey type games, barley was also used to mean "Stop that, I won't stand for it" when someone eg blatantly cheated at a card game, or went to eat a cake baked for a later special occasion; or even to indicate strong disagreement with the line of argument being pursued.

Contributor's comments: Used by Victorian kids in games to indicated a point of safety where one can not be "got": ""Dad is bali" or "the couch is bali" (during a game of monster chasing or catch). As a migrant I have quizzed other Victorians and it is not clear if it is Bali island of paradise and sanctuary or Barley as in a twist of barley which is like two fingers crossed - I would love to here more."

Contributor's comments: In Tasmania we had a variation - you had to say "Chance" before you touched (or whacked!) anyone, who could then say "Barley" to be safe. This could be used when playing chasings, but was in common usage around the home if you were caught doing something wicked by either a parent or a sibling, and they wanted to give you a gentle warning (if you were lucky!) they could raise a hand as though to smack you and say "chance' and you could say 'barley' and come to your senses and get back on the 'straight and narrow'. I have never heard of it in the plural form.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in the Wimmera area and used barley at school. There is a website a Scots dictionary which lists barley as a cry used, chiefly in the East of Scotland, to call for a period of truce or temporary halt to a game among children at play, Many people in our area are of Scots and Irish descent.