barbarian

noun bar·bar·i·an \ bär-ˈber-ē-ən \
Updated on: 30 Nov 2017

Definition of barbarian

plural barbarians
1 : a person from an alien land, culture, or group believed to be inferior, uncivilized, or violent used chiefly in historical references
  • In the Roman Empire, cohorts…patrolled the provinces, repelling the barbarians and maintaining the emperor's sovereignty.
  • —Paul C. Schuytema
  • Much of Italy had slipped from the grasp of the Byzantines, victim to the vigorous Germanic barbarians…who had begun their migration southward from the forested fastnesses of eastern and central Europe.
  • —Stephen O'Shea
2 : a barbarous person : a rude, crude, uneducated, or uncivilized person
  • No, I'm not some sort of barbarian who would open a bottle of wine to enjoy some before offering it as a gift. That would be uncouth.
  • —Irv Erdos

First Known Use of barbarian

14th century


2

barbarian

adjective

Definition of barbarian

1 : of or relating to a land, culture, or people alien and usually believed to be inferior to another land, culture, or people
2 : lacking refinement, learning, or artistic or literary culture

barbarianism

play \bär-ˈber-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\ noun

Examples of barbarian in a Sentence

  1. people who were regarded as barbarian by the ancient Romans

Recent Examples of barbarian from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barbarian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of barbarian

Latin barbarus — more at barbarous


BARBARIAN Defined for Kids

barbarian

noun bar·bar·i·an \ bär-ˈber-ē-ən \

Definition of barbarian for Students

: an uncivilized person


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