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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ His friends are a bunch of barbarians - they don't even wash their hands before they eat.
▪ The barbarians conquered Rome.
▪ A quick end, rather than torture and rape at the hands of those barbarians in the hall.
▪ He was not the man to deny the Romans access to the wealth of the barbarians.
▪ Is Gates the barbarian at the gates of the banks?
▪ It has often been noted that while barbarians fight with hatchets, civilised men fight with gossip.
▪ Next day the barbarians strove with no better success.
▪ Other poets celebrated the victories of the Seleucids and of the Attalids against the same barbarians.
▪ We have brought the barbarian across the Rhine in order to help defend our frontiers.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Barbarian \Bar*ba"ri*an\, n. [See Barbarous.]

  1. A foreigner. [Historical]

    Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
    --1 Cor. xiv. 11.

  2. A man in a rude, savage, or uncivilized state.

  3. A person destitute of culture.
    --M. Arnold.

  4. A cruel, savage, brutal man; one destitute of pity or humanity. ``Thou fell barbarian.''


Barbarian \Bar*ba"ri*an\, a. Of, or pertaining to, or resembling, barbarians; rude; uncivilized; barbarous; as, barbarian governments or nations.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c., from Medieval Latin barbarinus (source of Old French barbarin "Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian"), from Latin barbaria "foreign country," from Greek barbaros "foreign, strange, ignorant," from PIE root *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners (compare Sanskrit barbara- "stammering," also "non-Aryan," Latin balbus "stammering," Czech blblati "to stammer").\n

\nGreek barbaroi (n.) meant "all that are not Greek," but especially the Medes and Persians. Originally not entirely pejorative, its sense darkened after the Persian wars. The Romans (technically themselves barbaroi) took up the word and applied it to tribes or nations which had no Greek or Roman accomplishments. The noun is from late 14c., "person speaking a language different from one's own," also (c.1400) "native of the Barbary coast;" meaning "rude, wild person" is from 1610s.


a. Relating to people, country or customs perceived as uncivilized or inferior. n. 1 An uncivilized or uncultured person, originally compared to the hellenistic Greco-Roman civilisation; often associated with fighting or other such shows of strength. 2 (context derogatory English) Someone from a developing country or backward culture. 3 A warrior, clad in fur or leather, associated with sword and sorcery stories. 4 (context derogatory English) A person destitute of culture; a Philistine. 5 A cruel, savage, brutal person; one without pity or humanity.

  1. adj. without civilizing influences; "barbarian invaders"; "barbaric practices"; "a savage people"; "fighting is crude and uncivilized especially if the weapons are efficient"-Margaret Meade; "wild tribes" [syn: barbaric, savage, uncivilized, uncivilised, wild]

  2. n. a member of an uncivilized people [syn: savage]

  3. a crude uncouth ill-bred person lacking culture or refinement [syn: peasant, boor, churl, Goth, tyke, tike]


A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be uncivilised or primitive. The designation is usually applied as generalization based on a popular stereotype; barbarians can be any member of a nation judged by some to be less civilised or orderly (such as a tribal society), but may also be part of a certain "primitive" cultural group (such as nomads) or social class (such as bandits) both within and outside one's own nation. Alternatively, they may instead be admired and romanticised as noble savages. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.

The term originates from the (barbaros). In ancient times, the Greeks used it mostly for people of different cultures, but there are examples where one Greek city or state would use the word to attack another. In the early modern period and sometimes later, Greeks used it for the Turks, in a clearly pejorative way. Comparable notions are found in non-European civilizations, notably China and Japan. During the Roman Empire, the Romans used the word "barbarian" for many people, such as the Germanics, Celts, Gauls, Iberians, Thracians, Parthians and Sarmatians.

Barbarian (2002 video game)

Barbarian is a fighting video game developed by Saffire and published by Titus Software. The game was first released in North America in 2002, and then in Europe in December 2003.

Barbarian (Dungeons & Dragons)

The barbarian is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The class was introduced as early as 1985 and went through a number of evolutions in subsequent editions of the game.

Barbarian (film)

Barbarian, also known as Kane the Barbarian, is an American sword and sorcery action direct-to-video film released in 2003. It can almost be considered a remake from the 1983 film Deathstalker. It stars the American bodybuilder, wrestler and actor Michael O'Hearn and Martin Kove, and also R&B singer Cassie Ventura had a bit part in the film.

Barbarian (disambiguation)

A barbarian refers to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized.

Barbarian may also refer to:

In sports:

  • Barbarian F.C. or the Barbarians or Baa-Baas, an invitation-only international Rugby union team, and the inspiration for similarly named teams:
    • Barbarian Rugby Club, more commonly known as the French Barbarians
    • Brussels Barbarians in Belgium
    • New Zealand Barbarians
    • South African Barbarians
  • "The Barbarian", ring name of professional wrestler Sione Vailahi
  • "Nord the Barbarian", ring name of professional wrestler John Nord

In games:

  • Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior, a 1987 fighting game by Palace Software
  • Barbarian (Psygnosis), a 1987 platform game by Psygnosis/Melbourne House
  • Barbarian (Titus), a 2002 fighting game by Titus
  • Barbarian (Dungeons & Dragons), a character class in the fantasy game
  • A character class in Diablo II and Diablo III


  • Barbarian (film), 2003 American film
  • The Barbarian (1933 film), starring Ramon Novarro
  • The Barbarians (1960 film), starring Jack Palance
  • The Barbarians (film), a 1987 American-Italian swords-and-sorcery film
  • Terry Jones' Barbarians, a documentary
  • Barbarians at the Gate (film)


  • Barbarians (TV series), a set of documentaries about nomadic, invading tribes in the time of the Roman Empire
  • The Barbarians (band), a moderately successful American 1960s garage band
  • Dave the Barbarian, an American TV series
  • "Barbarian", a song by E-40 from his 2011 album Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift
  • "The Barbarian", a piece from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, after Béla Bartók's Allegro barbaro
  • Barbarians, a series of comics published by Atlas/Seaboard Comics
  • Barbaric, fictional superhero from Image Comic's Freak Force
  • The Barbarians, an opera by Constantine Koukias based on a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy
  • Nationality of or relating to the imaginary nation of Barbaria.
  • The Barbarians a series of novels set in the Dragonlance realm
Barbarian (1987 video game)

Barbarian is a 1987 computer platform game by Psygnosis. It was first developed for the Atari ST, and was ported to the Amiga, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. The Amiga port was released in 1987; the others were released in 1988. Like most early Psygnosis titles, the cover artwork (part of "Red Dragon" figure/landscape) was by the popular fantasy artist, Roger Dean.

The game spawned a 1991 sequel, Barbarian II, released alongside Leander, and Ork, other platform-based action-adventures from Psygnosis.

Usage examples of "barbarian".

Conan, his eyes clouding with the abysmal superstition of the barbarian.

The immortal productions of Virgil, Cicero, and Livy, which were accessible to the Christian Barbarians, maintained a silent intercourse between the reign of Augustus and the times of Clovis and Charlemagne.

While Constantius gave laws to the Barbarians beyond the Danube, he distinguished, with specious compassion, the Sarmatian exiles, who had been expelled from their native country by the rebellion of their slaves, and who formed a very considerable accession to the power of the Quadi.

The maritime cities, and of these the infant republic of Ragusa, implored the aid and instructions of the Byzantine court: they were advised by the magnanimous Basil to reserve a small acknowledgment of their fidelity to the Roman empire, and to appease, by an annual tribute, the wrath of these irresistible Barbarians.

The acquisition of riches served only to stimulate the avarice of the rapacious Barbarians, who proceeded, by threats, by blows, and by tortures, to force from their prisoners the confession of hidden treasure.

The fear that nicotine addiction engenders can cause otherwise pleasant and compassionate people to act like barbarians.

Evidence was adduced, on the other hand, to show that the persons destroyed were not inoffensive seafarers, but bloodthirsty barbarians and pirates.

Barbarian chiefs, alarmed and admonished by the fate of their companions, prepared to encounter, in a decisive battle, the victorious forces of the lieutenant of Valentinian.

In the shadow of a balcony a girl barbarian of East Almery embraced a man blackened and in leather harness as a Deodand of the forest.

But when they recollected the sanguinary list of murders, of executions, and of massacres, which stain almost every page of the Jewish annals, they acknowledged that the barbarians of Palestine had exercised as much compassion towards their idolatrous enemies, as they had ever shown to their friends or countrymen.

While the continent of Europe and Africa yielded, without resistance, to the Barbarians, the British island, alone and unaided, maintained a long, a vigorous, though an unsuccessful, struggle, against the formidable pirates, who, almost at the same instant, assaulted the Northern, the Eastern, and the Southern coasts.

Athens, were now firmly established by the power of Rome, under whose auspicious influence the fiercest barbarians were united by an equal government and common language.

Terran, whatever Auster said, and if they wanted to call him barbarian, well, let them!

Alps, invaded Italy, and besieged Aquileia with an innumerable host of Barbarians.

According to their national custom, the Barbarians cut off a part of their hair, gashed their faces with unseemly wounds, and bewailed their valiant leader as he deserved, not with the tears of women, but with the blood of warriors.