bar·​bar·​ic | \bär-ˈber-ik, -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, -​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

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 Get our daily newsletter Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, condemned the attacks as barbaric. The Economist, "Islamists in Indonesia deploy their own children in suicide attacks," 17 May 2018 Other missives describe barbaric, Miracle Whip-eating enemy soldiers and pitched battles over Starbucks and Chick-fil-A shops. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Letters from the 'front' on Twitter mock prediction of second Civil War on July 4," 3 July 2018 To paraphrase Theodor Adorno, writing poetry after Auschwitz may be barbaric, but what about tourism? Peter Keough,, "An immigrant story, atrocity tourism, the future of Barbie," 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

29 Nov 2018

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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 \

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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