bar·​bar·​i·​ty | \ bär-ˈber-ə-tē How to pronounce barbarity (audio) , -ˈba-rə- \
plural barbarities

Definition of barbarity

1 : barbarism
2a : barbarous cruelty : inhumanity
b : an act or instance of such cruelty

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Examples of barbarity in a Sentence

The barbarity of the attack was horrifying. The photos vividly capture the war's barbarity. He is accused of inflicting unimaginable barbarities on his own people.
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Recent Examples on the Web What barbarity, indeed, that such a mind should ever cease. Boyd Tonkin, WSJ, 15 July 2021 Comparing anything to the barbarity of concentration camps and gas chambers is a mistake. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 25 May 2021 However, Gates uses this moment not only to expose the barbarity of racial terrorism but to focus on the Black Church as the leading force in confronting it. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, The New York Review of Books, 13 Apr. 2021 The barbarity of the death penalty was supposed to have been extinguished nearly a half-century ago. Arkansas Online, 22 Feb. 2021 But growing up in a country cracked with bloodletting and barbarity wasn’t the only agony Deng was made to endure as a small girl. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, 25 Dec. 2020 The incident is only one of many deeds of bloodshed to have been carried out by the CJNG, whose barbarity is said to be on ascendance in recent weeks and months — spilling on to U.S. soil and livelihoods. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, 23 Dec. 2020 Critics accused them of beautifying blood and barbed wire and barbarity, despite the blessing of the Royal British Legion. Matthew Sweet, The Economist, 4 Dec. 2020 Military prosecutors laid out a vivid portrait not just of this act of barbarity, but of the modus operandi of the SS, the most savage of Hitler’s war-makers. Larry Tye, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 July 2020

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

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for barbarity

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The first known use of barbarity was in 1566

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Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barbarity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for barbarity



English Language Learners Definition of barbarity

: extreme cruelty : a very cruel and violent quality
: a cruel act

More from Merriam-Webster on barbarity

Nglish: Translation of barbarity for Spanish Speakers


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