bar·​ba·​rous | \ ˈbär-b(ə-)rəs How to pronounce barbarous (audio) \

Definition of barbarous

b : lacking culture or refinement : philistine
2 : characterized by the occurrence of barbarisms barbarous language
3 : mercilessly harsh or cruel barbarous crimes

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Other Words from barbarous

barbarously adverb
barbarousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for barbarous

fierce, ferocious, barbarous, savage, cruel mean showing fury or malignity in looks or actions. fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack. fierce warriors ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality. a ferocious dog barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people. barbarous treatment of prisoners savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion. a savage criminal cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it. the cruel jokes of schoolboys

Examples of barbarous in a Sentence

the barbarous treatment of the native peoples of the New World by those bent on conquest at any cost an aunt who abhors barbarous behavior such as eating with your fingers
Recent Examples on the Web Though scarcely remembered now, the 2014 massacre of thousands of members of the Yazidi religion by ISIS, on Mount Sinjar, in Iraq, remains one of the most barbarous acts of genocide of recent years., 29 July 2021 Yet, Stowe takes her pains to emphasize that barbarous black characters (Sambo, Quimbo, Topsy) and white slave-traders alike are corrupted by the system. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 14 June 2021 After barbarous Stalin's death, the world's second-largest statue of Lenin erected in 1937 by sculptor SD Merkurov in Dubna, Russia, was blown up, but the pedestal was left behind. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 5 May 2021 His prose is prose, definitively prose, anti-felicitous and slightly barbarous. James Parker, The Atlantic, 13 Mar. 2021 There are many expenses necessary in a civilized country for which there is no occasion in one that is barbarous. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, 17 Aug. 2020 But the barbarous details of Romina’s death spread quickly, moving the needle of outrage and change toward protecting the lives of women and children. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 June 2020 With an increasingly literate society in England and widespread books and newspapers, for the first time the majority of Britons become aware of the barbarous practices taking place in the middle of the Atlantic, Walvin says. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 19 June 2020 The practice reached Britain and North America early in the 18th century, but many established medical authorities were skeptical that what were seen as barbarous peoples could contribute anything to medical knowledge. Jon Meacham, New York Times, 7 May 2020

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

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

History and Etymology for barbarous

Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros foreign, ignorant

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Time Traveler for barbarous

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

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Barbary ape

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Last Updated

1 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barbarous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for barbarous



English Language Learners Definition of barbarous

: not polite or proper : very rude or offensive
: very cruel and violent


bar·​ba·​rous | \ ˈbär-bə-rəs How to pronounce barbarous (audio) , -brəs \

Kids Definition of barbarous

1 : not civilized
2 : cruel sense 2, harsh barbarous treatment
3 : very offensive barbarous language

More from Merriam-Webster on barbarous

Nglish: Translation of barbarous for Spanish Speakers


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