Definition of barbarian in English:


Line breaks: bar|bar¦ian
Pronunciation: /bɑːˈbɛːrɪən


  • 1(In ancient times) a member of a people not belonging to one of the great civilizations (Greek, Roman, Christian): the city was besieged by the barbarians
    More example sentences
    • It was arrogant pretension of the ancient Greeks to imagine that barbarians were slaves by nature.
    • Hadrian, we are informed by his fourth-century biographer, built his wall to divide the Romans from the barbarians.
    • Although the Roman aristocrats despised the barbarians, many also believed that they could use them to their own purposes.
  • 1.1An uncultured or brutish person: you arrogant barbarian!
    More example sentences
    • It has become very fashionable in the middle reaches of government to beat up on the Americans as being uncultured barbarians.
    • The arrogant barbarians were again shown that they could never defeat The Chosen People.
    • Texans were more or less thought of as yahoo barbarians somewhere between the Beverly Hillbillies and Deliverance.
    savage, brute, beast, wild man/woman, troglodyte; ruffian, lout, thug, vandal, hoodlum, hooligan, rowdy; boor, oaf, ignoramus, philistine, vulgarian, yahoo
    informal clod, clodhopper, roughneck
    British informal yobbo, yob, lager lout, oik
    Australian/New Zealand informal hoon


Back to top  



More example sentences
  • If this barbarianism continues we will be compelled to defend the defenceless, and the best way of defence is to attack first.
  • We are endowed by our Creator with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and to the extent that we choose wrong, we yield to the evil and unholy forces of barbarianism.
  • The incident was neither a confrontation between nations nor one between civilization and barbarianism, but a fight between goodness and evil.


Middle English (as an adjective used in a derogatory way to denote a person with different speech and customs): from Old French barbarien, from barbare, or from Latin barbarus (see barbarous).

More definitions of barbarian

Definition of barbarian in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea