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

Definition of barbarity

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 All reflect, say those who study race and the suburbs, not just the barbarity of Floyd dying with a white officer’s knee on his neck but changing suburban demographics and the powder-keg effects of an ongoing pandemic. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Protest sprouts in the suburbs of North Texas and beyond in wake of George Floyd’s killing," 8 June 2020 In a response that signaled how fraught any direct talks between the Afghan government and insurgents would be, a former Taliban minister alluded to the barbarity that predated the Taliban government of the 1990s. New York Times, "Afghanistan Is Ready for Major U.S. Troop Reduction, Ghani Says," 23 Jan. 2020 Our desire to keep trading with China obliges the president of the United States to remain silent about this barbarity. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "We Aid the Growth of Chinese Tyranny to Our Eternal Shame," 29 Nov. 2019 Turning a blind eye to the Salvadoran government’s barbarity, the U.S. gave military support to its counterinsurgency campaign. David Wolman, Outside Online, "The Man Who Chases Auroras to Push Away Darkness," 6 Jan. 2020 To stop these acts of barbarity and brutality that have shocked and continue to shock our collective conscience. Fortune, "What’s Happening With the Rohingya Crisis Now?," 18 Dec. 2019 Exceptions include the veteran British graphic artist Sue Coe, who finds focus for her classic Expressionism and her lifelong sorrow and anger at human barbarities. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of War in “Theater of Operations”," 25 Nov. 2019 There is something almost arbitrary about this scandal instigating impeachment, given the barbarity of Trump and his administration. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Finally," 24 Sep. 2019 In covering the story of Ulrich Klopfer, media resort to euphemisms that betray the barbarity of an act sanctioned by half of the country. John Hirschauer, National Review, "What Does It Mean to Destroy a Fetus?," 17 Sep. 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of barbarity was in 1566

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Statistics for barbarity

Cite this Entry

“Barbarity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for barbarity


How to pronounce barbarity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of barbarity

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on barbarity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for barbarity

Spanish Central: Translation of barbarity

Nglish: Translation of barbarity for Spanish Speakers

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