‘strife, fighting; trouble, sorrow’(Modern English barrat)
Most authorities are content to derive ME baret from Fr, cp. Anglo-Fr barat ‘dispute, strife, disturbance, trouble, difficulty; deception, fraud; (false) litigation, barratry, trumpery’, which is a good fit formally and semantically (so MED, TGD, GDS). ON input has been suggested for the particular sense ‘contention, strife, quarrel, fighting’ (OED), cp. OIcel barátta ‘hitting, beating, violent attack; fight, battle’, which is possible but not necessary to account for the sense of the ME. Moreover the OIcel word likely represents a Scandinavian adaptation of the Fr one (contra de Vries); it is recorded only in Icel (from the 13c. in ONP), and so one may legitimately doubt its existence in VAN.
Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)
barátta ‘hitting, beating, violent attack; fight, battle’
(ONP barátta (sb.))
Other Scandinavian Reflexes
Phonological and morphological markers
MED cites a wide range of occurrences, from the 13c. onwards; some senses (inc. (3) ‘combat, fighting, battle; an attack’) seem esp. frequent in N/EM and alliterative texts. VEPN records only one possible field-name attestation, Barettfelde (Chs.).
Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus
Gaw 21, 353, 752 etc.
On the sense at Gaw 752, see Wright 1906: 210.