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Possibly from barbary (barbarian, non-Christian), or combining barbaric and barbarous.


  • IPA(key): /bɑː(ɹ)ˈbeəɹɪəs/


barbarious (comparative more barbarious, superlative most barbarious)

  1. (dated, before 20th century, now literary) barbarous, barbaric.
    • 1776, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
      During that calamitous period, every instant of time was marked, every province of the Roman world was afflicted, by barbarious invaders and military tyrants, and the ruined empire seemed to approach the last and fatal moment of its dissolution.
    • 1874, Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, page 219:
      "Well, it seems a barbarious practice enough to us, but I daresay the natives think nothing o' it," said Matthew.
    • 1941, Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi, page 143:
      The game is played out, the figures have melted away, the lines are frazzled, the board is mildewed. Everything has become barbarious again.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Sometimes considered non-standard.