[ bahr-bair-ee-uh-nahyz ]
/ b蓱r藞b蓻蓹r i 蓹藢na瑟z /
Save This Word!

verb (used with object), bar路bar路i路an路ized, bar路bar路i路an路iz路ing.
to make barbarian.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can鈥檛 figure out _____ gave me this gift.
Also especially British, bar路bar路i路an路ise .

Origin of barbarianize

First recorded in 1855鈥60; barbarian + -ize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022


What does聽barbarianize mean?

To barbarianize something is to make it become crude and uncivilized. To barbarianize someone is to turn them into a barbarian鈥攁 person who鈥檚 crude and uncivilized.

The term barbarian was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to any foreigner. In ancient and medieval times, it was variously used to refer to non-Greeks, non-Romans, and non-Christians.

The term eventually became associated with a stereotypical image of barbarians as primitive and brutish. For example, movies and comic strips often depict people they call barbarians as dressing in animal skins and carrying simple weapons, like wooden clubs.

Like the word savage, the word barbarian can be very offensive due to its use to dehumanize the people that it鈥檚 applied to, especially in a way that calls attention to their otherness or the supposed primitiveness of their culture or customs.

Still, barbarian is often used in an exaggerated way to refer to a person who behaves in a way considered crude or brutish. This use of the word focuses on a person鈥檚 crude behavior and is not intended to imply any sense of foreignness. It鈥檚 often intended to be lighthearted and humorous.

The related word barbarize means to make someone or something barbarous鈥攗ncivilized, crude, or cruel.

Example: The dumbing down of culture barbarianizes us and makes us incapable of civil discourse.聽

Where does聽barbarianize聽come from?

The first records of the word barbarianize come from the 1850s. The suffix -ize means 鈥渢o make鈥 or 鈥渢o convert into.鈥 The base word barbarian ultimately comes from the Greek b谩rbaros, meaning 鈥渘on-Greek,鈥 or, more generally, 鈥渇oreign.鈥

The Greek b谩rbaros is related to the Sanskrit barbara, which means 鈥渟tammering鈥 and was also used to refer to non-Aryans. The ultimate basis of these terms is thought to be an imitation of someone speaking a language that is completely incomprehensible, as if they were just saying the word bar over and over. This origin is indicative of how offensive the word barbarian can be when used in certain ways. Portraying an unfamiliar language as primitive gibberish simply because it鈥檚 unfamiliar is offensive in much the same way that calling a person a barbarian can be when it鈥檚 meant to dehumanize them due to their differences.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to barbarianize?

What are some synonyms for barbarianize?

What are some words that share a root or word element with barbarianize?聽

What are some words that often get used in discussing barbarianize?

How is聽barbarianize used in real life?

Barbarianize is often used negatively, but it can be used in ways intended to be lighthearted or humorous. It is not commonly used.