Middle English barbarian, borrowing 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)
barbarian (plural barbarians)
- (historical) a non-Greek or a non-Roman
- An uncivilized or uncultured person, originally compared to the hellenistic Greco-Roman civilisation; often associated with fighting or other such shows of strength.
- (derogatory) Someone from a developing country or backward culture.
- A warrior, clad in fur or leather, associated with sword and sorcery stories.
- (derogatory) A person destitute of culture; a Philistine.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of M. Arnold to this entry?)
- A cruel, savage, brutal person; one without pity or humanity.
- Thou fell barbarian.
- (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.