Definition of barbarian in English:


Syllabification: bar·bar·i·an
Pronunciation: /bärˈbe(ə)rēən


  • 1(In ancient times) a member of a community or tribe not belonging to one of the great civilizations (Greek, Roman, Christian).
    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.
    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, heathen, brute, beast, wild man/woman; ruffian, thug, lout, vandal, boor, hoodlum, hooligan, Neanderthal, troglodyte; philistine
    informal roughneck, lowlife, knuckle-dragger


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  • 1Of or relating to ancient barbarians: barbarian invasions barbarian peoples
    More example sentences
    • But that attaches all of the barbarian interlude to ancient history, which is counter to our usual notions.
    • And maybe that date will be viewed in future centuries as the beginning of the great barbarian invasions.
    • This promising line of thought takes us back to the barbarian invasions that overwhelmed Rome in the 5th century.
  • 1.1Uncultured; brutish.
    More example sentences
    • The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
    • Terminal illness makes a fantastic, fun-filled irreverent backdrop for black comedy, exploding with comments on humankind's barbarian invasion of the planet.
    • The supervisory board of the Bulgarian National Bank was a straight jacket for the elite, which drained the financial system in a pagan and barbarian way.
    savage, uncivilized, barbaric, primitive, heathen, vulgar, wild, brutish, Neanderthal


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

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