Barbarian



a person in a savage, primitive state; uncivilized person.
a person without culture, refinement, or education; philistine.
(loosely) a foreigner.

a non-Greek.
a person living outside, especially north of, the Roman Empire.
a person not living in a Christian country or within a Christian civilization.

(among Italians during the Renaissance) a person of non-Italian origin.
uncivilized; crude; savage.
foreign; alien.
Contemporary Examples

I wrote my first book listening to the soundtrack to the movie Conan the barbarian on a loop.
Junot Díaz: How I Write Noah Charney August 20, 2013

Conan the barbarian wants to talk about Baudelaire, Kurosawa, his hopes and dreams.
Conan Gets Emotional Adam Auriemma August 20, 2011

Actor-model Jason Momoa packed on 30 pounds to his runway-ready frame to revive Conan the barbarian.
Invasion of the Bodybuilders Chris Lee June 5, 2011

Lastly, Levy objects to my occasional use, in the past, of the word “barbarian”.
A Response to Daniel Levy Benny Morris April 16, 2012

What can explain Morris’s insistence in continuing to describe whole cultures and societies as “barbarian”?
A Second Response to Benny Morris Daniel Levy April 23, 2012

Historical Examples

The barbarian and Myka went off somewhere with Weatherby—presumably to have breakfast.
The Barbarians John Sentry

The intelligence and facilities of Government are but one step above the barbarian.
The Railroad Question William Larrabee

barbarian powers such as Greeks had never yet had to deal with have arisen in East and West.
The Chief Periods of European History Edward A. Freeman

How could you be such a barbarian as to see the head of a man cut off?
The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun; Various

It is not recorded what came of these negotiations, nor whether the god granted the hand of the princess to her barbarian suitor.
History Of Egypt, Chalda, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 8 (of 12) G. Maspero

noun
a member of a primitive or uncivilized people
a coarse, insensitive, or uncultured person
a vicious person
adjective
of an uncivilized culture
insensitive, uncultured, or brutal
adj.

mid-14c., from Medieval Latin barbarinus (source of Old French barbarin “Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian”), from Latin barbaria “foreign country,” from Greek barbaros “foreign, strange, ignorant,” from PIE root *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners (cf. Sanskrit barbara- “stammering,” also “non-Aryan,” Latin balbus “stammering,” Czech blblati “to stammer”).

Greek barbaroi (n.) meant “all that are not Greek,” but especially the Medes and Persians. Originally not entirely pejorative, its sense darkened after the Persian wars. The Romans (technically themselves barbaroi) took up the word and applied it to tribes or nations which had no Greek or Roman accomplishments. The noun is from late 14c., “person speaking a language different from one’s own,” also (c.1400) “native of the Barbary coast;” meaning “rude, wild person” is from 1610s.

a Greek word used in the New Testament (Rom. 1:14) to denote one of another nation. In Col. 3:11, the word more definitely designates those nations of the Roman empire that did not speak Greek. In 1 Cor. 14:11, it simply refers to one speaking a different language. The inhabitants of Malta are so called (Acts 28:1,2, 4). They were originally a Carthaginian colony. This word nowhere in Scripture bears the meaning it does in modern times.

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  • Barbarianize

    to make barbarian.

  • Barbarianism

    a person in a savage, primitive state; uncivilized person. a person without culture, refinement, or education; philistine. (loosely) a foreigner. a non-Greek. a person living outside, especially north of, the Roman Empire. a person not living in a Christian country or within a Christian civilization. (among Italians during the Renaissance) a person of non-Italian origin. […]



  • Barbarically

    without civilizing influences; uncivilized; primitive: barbaric invaders. of, like, or befitting barbarians: a barbaric empire; barbaric practices. crudely rich or splendid: barbaric decorations. Historical Examples The Sikhs who succeeded the Afghans were not so barbarically cruel, but they were hard and rough masters. Kashmir Sir Francis Edward Younghusband She was dreaming that Anna Zanidov stood […]

  • Barbarism

    a barbarous or uncivilized state or condition. a barbarous act; something belonging to or befitting a barbarous condition. the use in a language of forms or constructions felt by some to be undesirably alien to the established standards of the language. such a form or construction: Some people consider “complected” as a barbarism. Contemporary Examples […]



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