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See also: barbarían


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From 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), possibly onomatopoeic (mimicking foreign languages, akin to English blah blah). Cognate to Sanskrit बर्बर (barbara, barbarian, non-Aryan, stammering, blockhead).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /bɑː(ɹ).ˈbɛə.ɹi.ən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /bɑɹ.ˈbɛəɹ.i.ən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛəɹiən


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) A person destitute of culture; a Philistine.
    • 1725, Anthony Blackwall, The Sacred Classics Defended And Illustrated:
      Shall a noble writer, and an inspired noble writer, be called a solecist, and barbarian, for giving a new turn to a word so agreeable to the analogy and genius of the Greek tongue?
  4. (derogatory) Someone from a developing country or backward culture.
  5. A warrior, clad in fur or leather, associated with sword and sorcery stories.
  6. A cruel, savage, brutal person; one without pity or humanity.
  7. (derogatory) 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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