bar·​bar·​ic | \ bär-ˈber-ik How to pronounce barbaric (audio) , -ˈba-rik\

Definition of barbaric

1a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a group of people who are alien to another land, culture, or people and who are usually believed to be inferior : of, relating to, or characteristic of barbarians
b : possessing or characteristic of a cultural level more complex than primitive (see primitive entry 1 sense 2c) culture but less sophisticated than advanced civilization (see civilization sense 1a)
2a : marked by a lack of restraint : wild a barbaric use of color
b : having a bizarre, primitive, or unsophisticated quality … I sound my barbaric yawp …— Walt Whitman the tangled, loose barbaric magnificence of the Elizabethan dramaThink
3 : barbarous sense 3 barbaric crimes

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Other Words from barbaric

barbarically \ bär-​ˈber-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce barbarically (audio) , -​ˈba-​ri-​ \ adverb

Examples of barbaric in a Sentence

Barbaric tribes invaded the area. His table manners are barbaric. They considered the custom barbaric. The treatment of the prisoners was positively barbaric.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Unplanned portrays surgical abortions as unsafe and barbaric. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "What Unplanned Gets Wrong About Abortion, According to Experts," 11 Apr. 2019 Taylor – to prison in 2009 for his own barbaric behavior in a second civil war that roiled Liberia between 1999 and 2003. Jeremy Roebuck,, "'Jungle Jabbah,' ex-warlord living in Delco, sentenced to 30 years," 19 Apr. 2018 But, hopefully, movies like The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased will boost public awareness of the issue and encourage voters to mobilize against such antiquated and barbaric practices. Chelsea Greenwood Lassman, Teen Vogue, "How Gay Conversion Therapy Came to Be, and How It Persists Today," 7 Aug. 2018 In surgery and medicine, as in everything else, today’s eccentricity is tomorrow’s commonplace, and some of today’s norms will certainly seem barbaric sooner or later. Laura Kolbe, WSJ, "‘Under the Knife’ Review: The Kindest Cuts," 14 Nov. 2018 This wasn’t barbaric One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest stuff but a genuinely effective therapy for people who were crippled by certain seizure syndromes. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: The oddly divisible nature of consciousness," 4 Oct. 2018 At first glance, the idea seems barbaric and unnecessarily traumatizing. Redbook, "Is Childhood Obesity a Result of Parental Neglect?," 14 July 2011 Finally, the free world had awakened to stop this barbaric brutality. Bryan Marquard,, "Lola Schuss, 96; wrote of experiences surviving four concentration camps," 9 July 2018 The kids are more like me, staring at the disappearing hill or the sleds or the table nearby where Kelly brought tools of the luge trade: motorcycle-looking helmet, leather boots, skin-tight uniform and those barbaric-looking gloves. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: USA Luge's search for next great Winter Olympian visits Indianapolis," 28 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of barbaric

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for barbaric

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for barbaric

The first known use of barbaric was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for barbaric



English Language Learners Definition of barbaric

: of or relating to barbarians
: very rude or offensive : not polite or proper
: very cruel


bar·​bar·​ic | \ bär-ˈber-ik How to pronounce barbaric (audio) \

Kids Definition of barbaric

1 : barbarous
2 : showing a lack of restraint barbaric power

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More from Merriam-Webster on barbaric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with barbaric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for barbaric

Spanish Central: Translation of barbaric

Nglish: Translation of barbaric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barbaric for Arabic Speakers

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