Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • A region of northern Africa on the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean. Settled by Berbers in the 2nd millennium B.C., it was conquered by Arabs in the 7th century A.D. From the 16th to the 19th century it was used as a base by pirates who raided ships in the Mediterranean Sea and extracted tribute from the European powers trading in the area.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. The Mediterranean coastal areas of North Africa that were used as a base by pirates in the 16th to 19th centuries.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The countries on the north coast of Africa from Egypt to the Atlantic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Foreign or barbarous nationality; paganism; heathenism.
  • n. Barbarity; barbarism.
  • n. Barbarous speech.
  • n. A Barbary horse; a barb. See barb, 1.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a region of northern Africa on the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Gibraltar; was used as a base for pirates from the 16th to 19th centuries

Etymologies

From Berber, influenced by barbary ("barbarian, non-Christian") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The claim is based on the word "Barbary," the name the woman is given in some modern texts of or references to "Othello."

    So It Wasn't Jealousy After All?

  • In the First Folio (of 1623), when the editors want to refer to Africa they use the word "Barbary" (Iago calls Othello a "Barbary horse").

    So It Wasn't Jealousy After All?

  • “Jilbáb,” a long coarse veil or gown which in Barbary becomes a “Jallábiyah,” in a striped and hooded cloak of woollen stuff.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • From the earliest period known to history, Morocco has been inhabited by the Berbers (whence the name Barbary).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • MY Presence being no way serviceable to you in Barbary, and the Repose of my future Life calling me with the utmost Expectation to Fez, I humbly entreat your Permission to return thither.

    Idalia, or, The Unfortunate Mistress: A Novel

  • Mauláya!” the term is still used throughout Moslem lands; but in Barbary where it is pronounced “Mooláee” Europeans have converted it to “Muley” as if it had some connection with the mule.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • It once was the stronghold of North African corsairs, better known as Barbary pirates, who roamed the Mediterranean several hundred years ago.

    Activists Fight to Save Crumbling Algiers Casbah

  • Not even the six major fires that raged through the city between 1848 and 1851—many of them set by an organized gang of transplanted Australian criminals known as the Sydney Ducks—could slow the explosive urban development, which stretched from the dockside red-light district known as the Barbary Coast to the nouveau riche mansions on 338-foot-high Nob Hill, located above Chinatown and the financial district.

    LIGHTING OUT FOR THE TERRITORY

  • But according to Boston University's World Religion Database, the Somali population is 99% Muslim, and the last time the U.S. was menaced by piracy, in the late 18th century, the so-called Barbary pirates of north Africa also operated out of Muslim havens.

    Muhammad on the High Seas

  • These extortionists of the high seas represented the Islamic nations of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers—collectively referred to as the Barbary Coast—and presented a dangerous and unprovoked threat to the new American republic.

    The Last Patriot

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