bar·​bar·​ic bär-ˈber-ik How to pronounce barbaric (audio)
: 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
: 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)
: marked by a lack of restraint : wild
a barbaric use of color
: having a bizarre, primitive, or unsophisticated quality
… I sound my barbaric yawp …Walt Whitman
the tangled, loose barbaric magnificence of the Elizabethan dramaThink
: barbarous sense 3
barbaric crimes
barbarically 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Scrunching his face in disgust, USC coach Paul Hackett yelled for someone to wallop that barbaric Bruin. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Thousands of armed Hamas terrorists indiscriminately tortured and gunned down Israeli civilians in other kibbutzim and communities, while some launched a barbaric attack at an open-air music festival. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 15 Nov. 2023 Today, many conservatives are celebrating the consequences visited by employers and even some schools upon those who have publicly sided with Hamas since its barbaric assault on Israel. Dan McLaughlin, National Review, 7 Nov. 2023 David Engel, a board member of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, told the City Council recently that rodeos are barbaric. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Nov. 2023 Hamas’ brutal terrorist attacks last month, an even more barbaric departure from its previous tactics of antisemitic violence and rhetoric, surprised even those who know the group well. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 6 Nov. 2023 On the quiet morning of October 7, 2023, the Palestinian terror group Hamas opened a barbaric new chapter in the history of terrorism, murdering 1,400 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostages. Marc Sarnoff, National Review, 23 Oct. 2023 In the wake of Hamas’s barbaric October 7 assault on Israeli Jews, antisemitism has become so rampant that Jews all across America are feeling unsettled and unsafe. The Editors, National Review, 31 Oct. 2023 The weeks since the barbaric Oct. 7 Hamas invasion of Israel have witnessed physical assaults on Jews the world over, including in the U.S. and Europe. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 30 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'barbaric.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near barbaric

Cite this Entry

“Barbaric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


bar·​bar·​ic bär-ˈbar-ik How to pronounce barbaric (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of barbarians

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