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See also: barbarían


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Middle English barbarian, borrowed from Medieval Latin barbarinus (Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian), from Latin barbaria (foreign country), from barbarus (foreigner, savage), from Ancient Greek βάρβαρος (bárbaros, foreign, non-Greek, strange), onomatopoeic (mimicking foreign languages, akin to English blah blah). Cognate to Sanskrit बर्बर (barbara, barbarian, non-Aryan, stammering, blockhead).



barbarian (not comparable)

  1. Relating to people, countries or customs perceived as uncivilized or inferior.




barbarian (plural barbarians)

  1. (historical) a non-Greek or a non-Roman
  2. An uncivilized or uncultured person, originally compared to the hellenistic Greco-Roman civilisation; often associated with fighting or other such shows of strength.
  3. (derogatory) Someone from a developing country or backward culture.
  4. A warrior, clad in fur or leather, associated with sword and sorcery stories.
  5. (derogatory) A person destitute of culture; a Philistine.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of M. Arnold to this entry?)
  6. A cruel, savage, brutal person; one without pity or humanity.
    • Philips
      Thou fell barbarian.
  7. (pejorative) A foreigner, especially with barbaric qualities as in the above definitions.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

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