[ bahr-bar-ik ]
/ bɑrˈbær ɪk /
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See synonyms for: barbaric / barbarically on Thesaurus.com

without civilizing influences; uncivilized; primitive: barbaric invaders.
of, like, or befitting barbarians: a barbaric empire; barbaric practices.
crudely rich or splendid: barbaric decorations.
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Origin of barbaric

1480–90; <Latin barbaricus<Greek barbarikós.See barbarous, -ic

synonym study for barbaric

1, 3. See barbarian.


bar·bar·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·bar·bar·ic, adjectivepre·bar·bar·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does barbaric mean?

Barbaric means crude, uncivilized, or primitive. It’s often used to describe things that are cruel or brutal in a way that’s considered entirely uncivilized.

Barbaric is also used to describe things that involve people considered barbarians—people who are extremely 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.

Like the word savage, the word barbarian can be very offensive due to its use to dehumanize the people that it’s applied to, especially in a way that calls attention to their otherness or the supposed primitiveness of their culture or customs. Barbaric can also imply these same things, especially when it’s applied to the practices of a culture other than one’s own.

The related word barbarous also means uncivilized, crude, or cruel.

Example: We need to put an end to this barbaric violence.

Where does barbaric come from?

The first records of the word barbaric come from the 1480s. It derives from the Latin barbaricus, meaning “foreign,” and ultimately comes from the Greek bárbaros, meaning “non-Greek,” or, more generally, “foreign.”

The Greek bárbaros is related to the Sanskrit barbara, which means “stammering” 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 words barbarian and barbaric can be when used in certain ways. Portraying an unfamiliar language as primitive gibberish simply because it’s unfamiliar is offensive in much the same way that calling a person barbaric can be when it’s meant to dehumanize them due to their differences.

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What are some other forms related to barbaric?

  • barbarically (adverb)

What are some synonyms for barbaric?

What are some words that share a root or word element with barbaric

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

How is barbaric used in real life?

Barbaric is always used negatively. It can be offensive when used to dehumanize a group and imply that their culture is primitive.

How to use barbaric in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for barbaric

/ (bɑːˈbærɪk) /

of or characteristic of barbarians
primitive or unsophisticated; unrestrained

Derived forms of barbaric

barbarically, adverb

Word Origin for barbaric

C15: from Latin barbaricus foreign, outlandish; 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