The name "Barendrecht" is derived from the Germanic word birni, translated as "mud" or "muddy", and the Latin word trāiectum translated as "to cross (a river)" to denote a muddy river crossing.
The current municipality of Barendrecht is located in the area of three former fiefdoms: East-Barendrecht, West-Barendrecht, and Carnisse. The oldest reference to East-Barendrecht is from 1264. These fiefdoms were in Riederwaard, an area reclaimed from water since the 12th century but had to deal with frequent dike breaches throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. Further stages in land reclamation, constituting the major part of modern Barendrecht, were the Binnenland polder (1484), Buitenland polder (1555) and Zuidpolder (1649).
During the French Period, the three fiefdoms were merged into one municipality Barendrecht. After the French Period, it was split into East and West-Barendrecht, but in 1836 it was again united as one municipality.