Biblical name (meaning ‘bee’ in Hebrew), borne by the nurse of Rebecca (Genesis 35:8) and by a woman judge and prophet (Judges 4–5) who led the Israelites to victory over the Canaanites. It has always been popular as a Jewish name. It was in use among Christians by the mid 16th century and was taken up by the Puritans in the 17th century, in part because the bee was a symbol of industriousness. Since then it has enjoyed enormous popularity, peaking in the 1960s. Among other famous bearers is the actress Deborah Kerr (1921–2007).
English: topographic name or metonymic occupational name for someone who lived by or worked at a barn or barns, from Middle English barn ‘barn’, ‘granary’. In some cases, it may be a habitational name from Barnes (on the Surrey bank of the Thames in London), which was named in Old English with this word.