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

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

a monarch resorting to whatever barbarous means he deemed necessary to protect his throne an aunt who abhors barbarous behavior such as eating with your fingers
Recent Examples on the Web If the American Civil War ended the barbarous inhumanity of slavery, and the English Civil War restrained monarchical power, what did the Russian Civil War achieve? Douglas Smith, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 The difference between early colonial law and British law is made clear in the prohibition on the one hand of bodily punishments that are inhumane, barbarous, or cruel, and on the other hand, the sort of death that would be suffered by Peters. Marilynne Robinson, Harper’s Magazine , 20 July 2022 The resonance and immediacy of these barbarous 19th-century events are testament to Zhang’s storytelling powers, and should stand as a warning to all of us. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 The pontiff reiterated his condemnation of war as barbarous and sacrilegious. NBC News, 27 Mar. 2022 Nevertheless, this is where Democratic extremism has taken the party, and this foolhardy vote tonight will do Americans the favor of exposing exactly how committed national Democrats are to this barbarous position. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, 28 Feb. 2022 From Santiago to Sydney and Sacramento, from Tokyo and Taipei to Tel Aviv, protesters have raged at Vladimir Putin for his barbarous campaign to conquer Ukraine. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 27 Feb. 2022 Iconic images of the accused being burned alive were deployed in the propaganda wars that cast the Black struggle, depending on the teller, as either barbarous or suffused with its own fearsome justice. New York Times, 26 Dec. 2021 People dismiss gold as a barbarous relic and governments de-emphasize its importance as a relic. Clem Chambers, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Barbarous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for barbarous


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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