Definition of barbarous in English:


Line breaks: bar|bar¦ous
Pronunciation: /ˈbɑːb(ə)rəs


  • 1Extremely brutal: many early child-rearing practices were barbarous by modern standards
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    • Yes it is brutal, savage and barbarous - but I have so much respect for the bravery of heavyweight boxers.
    • Before Hitler's atrocities exposed the barbarous extremes of social engineering, eugenic views were regarded as radical visions of social reform.
    • It might be harder still for some of us who have known people of influence and respect, who participated in policies which we regard today as outdated, barbarous, cruel and racist.
  • 2Primitive and uncivilized: a remote and barbarous country
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    • But was it fair to call Africa barbarous and uncivilized, and to say that the slave traders were doing no harm by removing people from that continent?
    • Call me barbarous, call me ignorant, but at least I won't have this disturbing feeling that I'm helping someone make piles of money off whatever terrible event is unfolding at the moment.
    • Now suppose the Professor found the use of shells to be primitive and irrational - ‘a barbarous relic!’
  • 2.1(Of language) coarse and unrefined: avoiding barbarous sentences or ambiguities
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    • I don't think it needs to be described in that barbarous language, which has become infected by that awful poltroon, Foucault.
    • Lithuanian was considered to be a barbarous language, unworthy of religious use, so Polish was used for all official religious business.
    • Full of zesty barbarous language and wordplay, it reminds me of why Wilde is so revered.



More example sentences
  • It is also an enormous affront to the memory of the 3,000 men and women murdered so barbarously on 11 September 2001.
  • Moreover, the September 11 attacks vividly showed what many have warned of for some time: terrorism's reach is broad, its resources deep and its intentions barbarously lethal.
  • As Ellis describes it: ‘‘Homosexual’ is a barbarously hybrid word.’


More example sentences
  • The outcry against such autocratic barbarousness became nearly universal.
  • Babits was a classicist: the legacy of Greece and Rome meant more to him than what he felt was the barbarousness of the Old Testament.
  • No less sincerely did they consider the Soviet regime to be a product of the backwardness and barbarousness of Russian conditions.


late Middle English (in sense 2): via Latin from Greek barbaros 'foreign' + -ous.

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