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

The willingness of Trump and his administration to plunge ahead anyway with a barbaric tactic is primarily a reflection of their moral emptiness. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Lessons From the Trump Family-Separation Fiasco," 20 June 2018 Tour the grand, whitewashed European quarters and then descend to the dungeons, haunting reminders of one of history’s most barbaric chapters. National Geographic, "Africa by Private Jet," 12 June 2019 From June 21-30, over 10,000 will lose their lives in a cruel and barbaric manner. Austen Erblat,, "South Florida animal rescue raising money to save dogs from Chinese dog meat festival," 11 June 2019 Nicolas Sarkozy illustrated the barbaric treatment of women in several interviews, claiming that women wearing nail polish were having their arms cut off by the Taliban. Rony Brauman, Harper's magazine, "Salable Virtues," 10 Apr. 2019 Columnist Karina Bland offers tips for staying cool in these barbaric, sweltering months. Karina Bland, azcentral, "My love affair with Arizona began on a hot July runway. Now I know I'm home," 10 June 2019 Supporters of the ban include animal welfare advocates, who argue declawing is cruel and barbaric. Washington Post, "The Latest: Proposed cat declawing ban passes NY Legislature," 5 June 2019 Jewelry has often been used to evoke political messaging, and even in this fictional, barbaric world, this holds true. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "The Jewelry on Game of Thrones Offers Clues to the Season 8 Finale," 18 May 2019 Unplanned portrays surgical abortions as unsafe and barbaric. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "What Unplanned Gets Wrong About Abortion, According to Experts," 11 Apr. 2019

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

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

Comments on barbaric

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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