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 Tacitus wrote of the barbarous treatment of the townspeople by the Britons, remarking that it had been reckoned that a total of 70,000 Romans and provincials were killed at Camulodunum, Londinium, and Verulamium. Richard Hingley, National Geographic, "Big, bad Boudica united thousands of ancient Britons against Rome," 22 Oct. 2019 Historically, in western cultures, with some notable exceptions, suicide cases were treated with at best disdain and at worst barbarous practices. Simon Harold Walker, Time, "If We Want to Address the Crisis of Veteran Suicide, We Must Acknowledge Its History," 6 Sep. 2019 In addition, several aspects of the story were updated to avoid the barbarous, hook-nosed stereotypes of the original. Lorraine Ali,, "From ‘Aladdin’ to Galaxy’s Edge, how Hollywood interprets Arab culture," 14 June 2019 Just look at the reaction to President Trump’s barbarous policy of taking children away from their parents as punishment for the misdemeanor offense of illegally entering the country. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: 10 stories illuminate the Trump doctrine on foreign policy," 5 July 2018 These barbarous acts must end and those at the helm must be held accountable. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Video shows DHS boss Kirstjen Nielsen being heckled, harassed at DC restaurant," 20 June 2018 These barbarous acts must end and those at the helm must be held accountable., "Kirstjen Nielsen Heckled Out Of Mexican Restaurant After Defending Family Separation," 20 June 2018 Coach Tom Herman sent forth Buechele and Ehlinger to battle in the circle drill, a barbarous exercise typically off limits to quarterbacks. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "White tops Orange in UT spring game," 21 Apr. 2018 The retired brigadier general, said to be suffering from dementia, spent the last several years of his life consumed by legal battles stemming from his short but barbarous reign as the country’s leader. John Otis, Washington Post, "Efrain Rios Montt, former Guatemalan military dictator charged with genocide, dies at 91," 1 Apr. 2018

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

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Barbarous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for barbarous


How to pronounce barbarous (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on barbarous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for barbarous

Spanish Central: Translation of barbarous

Nglish: Translation of barbarous for Spanish Speakers

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