Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A member of one of the non-Greek peoples in the ancient world, regarded by the ancient Greeks as culturally inferior.
  • noun A member of any of various peoples living outside the Roman Empire or not fully integrated into Greco-Roman civilization.
  • noun A member of a people considered uncivilized or culturally inferior by members of another people.
  • noun A fierce, brutal, or cruel person.
  • noun An insensitive, uncultured person. synonym: boor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A member of a barbarian people. See II., 5.
  • In anthropology, pertaining to a state of society in which descent is reckoned in the paternal line, and in which the members of the paternal family of all generations form an exogamous social unit called a gens.
  • noun A foreigner; one whose language and customs differ from those of the speaker or writer.
  • noun One outside the pale of Christian civilization.
  • noun A man in a rude, savage state; an uncivilized person.
  • noun An uncultured person; one who has no sympathy with culture; a philistine.
  • noun A cruel, savage, brutal person; one destitute of pity or humanity: as, “thou fell barbarian,”
  • noun [capitalized] A native of Barbary.
  • Foreign; of another or outside nation; hence, non-Hellenic, non-Roman, non-Christian, non-Chinese, etc.
  • Of or pertaining to savages; rude; uncivilized.
  • Cruel; inhuman; barbarous.
  • [capitalized] Of or belonging to Barbary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of, or pertaining to, or resembling, barbarians; rude; uncivilized; barbarous.
  • noun Historical A foreigner.
  • noun A man in a rude, savage, or uncivilized state.
  • noun A person destitute of culture.
  • noun A cruel, savage, brutal man; one destitute of pity or humanity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Relating to people, countries or customs perceived as uncivilized or inferior.
  • noun An uncivilized or uncultured person, originally compared to the hellenistic Greco-Roman civilisation; often associated with fighting or other such shows of strength.
  • noun derogatory Someone from a developing country or backward culture.
  • noun A warrior, clad in fur or leather, associated with Sword and Sorcery stories.

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

  • noun a crude uncouth ill-bred person lacking culture or refinement
  • adjective without civilizing influences
  • noun a member of an uncivilized people

Etymologies

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

[French barbarien, from barbare, barbarous, from Latin barbarus; see barbarous.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Medieval Latin barbarinus ("Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian"), from Latin barbaria ("foreign country"), from barbarus ("foreigner, savage"), from Ancient Greek βάρβαρος (barbaros, "foreign, strange"), onomatopoeic (mimicking foreign languages, akin to 'blah blah').

Examples

  • Las Casas, however, turned the term barbarian against the civilizers.

    Bloodlust

  • Las Casas, however, turned the term barbarian against the civilizers.

    Bloodlust

  • He does not even use the term barbarian, probably because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of the world by one distinctive appellation.

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • He does not even use the term barbarian, probably because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of the world by one distinctive name.

    THE LANDMARK THUCYDIDES

  • He does not even use the term barbarian, probably because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of the world by one distinctive name.

    THE LANDMARK THUCYDIDES

  • He does not even use the term barbarian, probably because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of the world by one distinctive appellation.

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • Point of interest: Philip uses the term barbarian for a foreign king.

    American Chronicle

  • Obviously, in his later years, when he became king, necessity demanded he modify his ways, but as we witness in “Phoenix on the Sword,” the barbarian is always lurking just beneath the surface.

    The Triumph of Barbarism over Civilization « Gerry Canavan

  • A desperate new appeal by the president of Georgia to stop what he calls barbarian behavior by Russia.

    CNN Transcript Aug 14, 2008

  • The king's persistency in begging her not to veil so austerely a face which the gods had made for the admiration of men, his evident vexation upon her refusal to appear in Greek costume at the sacrifices and public solemnities, his unsparing raillery at what he termed her barbarian shyness, all tended to convince her that the young

    King Candaules

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