bar·​ba·​rism | \ ˈbär-bə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce barbarism (audio) \

Definition of barbarism

1a : a barbarian or barbarous social or intellectual condition : backwardness
b : the practice or display of barbarian acts, attitudes, or ideas
2 : an idea, act, or expression that in form or use offends against contemporary standards of good taste or acceptability

Examples of barbarism in a Sentence

The barbarism of his dictatorship cannot be ignored. Such barbarisms cannot be tolerated.

Recent Examples on the Web

There is no place for such barbarism in our region. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Over 200 Dead in Sri Lanka Bombings," 21 Apr. 2019 The postapocalypse story, set in a world heading back into barbarism, has a long history in science fiction. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: On the Edge in the Golden State," 8 Feb. 2019 The American fetish for barbarism has seeped into the national film culture with a quiet insidiousness, creating a governing body that writes off mass destruction as no biggie while going for the fainting couch at the sight of a second nipple. Charles Bramesco, Vox, "Eighth Grade’s R rating deters actual 8th graders from seeing it. What a shame.," 18 July 2018 Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Mattis suggested chemical weapons differed from conventional arms in their barbarism. Paul Sonne,, "Trump's strikes on Syria risk retaliation, escalation in a war he wants to avoid," 13 Apr. 2018 For them, the skulls—and the entire practice of human sacrifice—evinced the Mexica's barbarism and justified laying waste to the city in 1521. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 21 June 2018 Or is our choice between eco-socialism and barbarism? Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The Liberal Media Can Have Ideological Diversity Without Conservatives," 6 May 2018 Many outsiders view the killing of a marine mammal as an act of barbarism, and Arctic communities don’t take kindly to being told that their only source of local food is immoral and off-limits. Eva Holland, Smithsonian, "Where the Doomed, Beloved Polar Bear Is Still a Dangerous Predator," 16 May 2018 In the capital, Jakarta, the Indonesian Church Association strongly condemned this act of barbarism. Kate Leaver, Teen Vogue, "At Least 13 People Are Dead After a Family of 6 Allegedly Bombed 3 Churches in Indonesia," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barbarism.' 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 barbarism

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

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Last Updated

4 May 2019

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Time Traveler for barbarism

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

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English Language Learners Definition of barbarism

: cruel and violent behavior
: very rude behavior

More from Merriam-Webster on barbarism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with barbarism

Britannica English: Translation of barbarism for Arabic Speakers

Comments on barbarism

What made you want to look up barbarism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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