[ bahr-bair-ee-uhn ]
/ bɑrˈbɛər i ən /



uncivilized; crude; savage.
foreign; alien.

Origin of barbarian

1540–50; < Latin barbari(a) barbarous country (see barbarous, -ia) + -an

Related forms

bar·bar·i·an·ism, nounhalf-bar·bar·i·an, adjectivenon·bar·bar·i·an, adjective, noun

Synonym study

6. Barbarian, barbaric, barbarous pertain to uncivilized people. Barbarian is the general word for anything uncivilized: a barbarian tribe. Barbaric has both unfavorable and mildly favorable connotations, implying crudeness of taste or practice, or conveying an idea of rude magnificence and splendor: barbaric noise. Barbarous emphasizes the inhumanity and cruelty of barbarian life: barbarous customs. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for barbarian

British Dictionary definitions for barbarian


/ (bɑːˈbɛərɪən) /


a member of a primitive or uncivilized people
a coarse, insensitive, or uncultured person
a vicious person


of an uncivilized culture
insensitive, uncultured, or brutal

Derived Forms

barbarianism, noun

Word Origin for barbarian

C16: see barbarous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012