Definition of barbarous in English:


See synonyms for barbarous

Translate barbarous into Spanish


  • 1Savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal.

    ‘many early child-rearing practices were barbarous by modern standards’
    • ‘Yes it is brutal and barbarous - but I have so much respect for the bravery of heavyweight boxers.’
    • ‘Before Hitler's atrocities exposed the barbarous extremes of social engineering, eugenic views were regarded as radical visions of social reform.’
    • ‘It might be harder still for some of us who have known people of influence and respect, who participated in policies which we regard today as outdated, barbarous, cruel and racist.’
    • ‘I saw everything as a cruel, barbarous joke on me and I became cruel and barbarous so that I wouldn't be broken by it.’
    • ‘Acts of barbarous inhumanity are a grim reminder that, in the scheme of things, we are not much above wild animals.’
    • ‘Those who commit barbarous and inhuman acts are very far from the spirit of Islam.’
    • ‘Such things never appear to bother Albert, the consummate technician, who dissociates himself psychically from the violent, barbarous act.’
    • ‘But even then - I don't think many Barbeloids would disagree that fox hunting is a cruel, barbarous anachronism.’
    • ‘In imperial literature British rule meant law and British force signified the protection of the weak against a barbarous bully.’
    • ‘You non-vegetarians are barbarous murderers, but please stop hurting our feelings by challenging the wisdom of a vegetarian diet!’
    • ‘First, in order to be initiated, a person has to bind himself, by the most cruel and barbarous oaths, never to reveal any of Masonry's secrets.’
    • ‘Even today, Haitian occupation is portrayed as cruel and barbarous.’
    • ‘On the other side of the argument, people say that we have no right to kill foxes in the way that we do, and that fox-hunting is both cruel and barbarous.’
    • ‘It was so barbarous and inhumane that polite Romans did not talk about it.’
    • ‘‘If we do have to take military action, we do so in the sure knowledge that we are removing one of the most barbarous and detestable regimes in modern political history,’ he said.’
    • ‘Just curious - can I call them barbarous savages now?’
    • ‘Fossey saw local Rwandan people as barbarous, and went to extreme lengths to protect the gorillas, even killing villagers' cattle and firing guns at them.’
    • ‘‘These horrific and barbarous attacks on civilians overnight in Casablanca demonstrated a callous disregard for all human life, regardless of nationality,’ he said.’
    cruel, brutal, barbaric, brutish, bestial, savage, vicious, fierce, ferocious, wicked, nasty, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, villainous, murderous, heinous, nefarious, monstrous, base, low, low-down, vile, inhuman, infernal, dark, black, black-hearted, fiendish, hellish, diabolical, ghastly, horrible
    View synonyms
  • 2Primitive and uncivilized.

    ‘a remote and barbarous country’
    • ‘But was it fair to call Africa barbarous and uncivilized, and to say that the slave traders were doing no harm by removing people from that continent?’
    • ‘Call me barbarous, call me ignorant, but at least I won't have this disturbing feeling that I'm helping someone make piles of money off whatever terrible event is unfolding at the moment.’
    • ‘Now suppose the Professor found the use of shells to be primitive and irrational - ‘a barbarous relic!’’
    • ‘He was repelled by the obscurity of its content and the barbarous style of the rather primitive version made by half-educated missionaries in the second century.’
    • ‘Justice Higgins argued in 1915 that conciliation and arbitration would provide a new ‘province of law and order’ to replace ‘the rude and barbarous process of strike and lockout’.’
    • ‘Or rather, did they strive to bring ‘civilization’ to the rude and barbarous peoples of the west and north?’
    • ‘The rites that he practised were of an uncouth, barbarous, and unusual nature.’
    • ‘‘The more civilized his object, the more barbarous the worker,’ Marx wrote.’
    • ‘As late as 1787, the English agricultural traveller Arthur Young was astonished to find many regions of France still dominated by ‘the common barbarous course’ of the three-field system.’
    uncivilized, primitive, unsophisticated, barbaric, heathen
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1(of language) coarse and unrefined.
      ‘avoiding barbarous sentences or ambiguities’
      • ‘I don't think it needs to be described in that barbarous language, which has become infected by that awful poltroon, Foucault.’
      • ‘Lithuanian was considered to be a barbarous language, unworthy of religious use, so Polish was used for all official religious business.’
      • ‘Full of zesty barbarous language and wordplay, it reminds me of why Wilde is so revered.’
      • ‘In the ears of the new French lords and their clerks, English had a barbarous sound, and there followed an onslaught on the old vernacular.’
      • ‘For many people in England and elsewhere, the terms Anglo-English, England English, and English English are tautologous and barbarous.’
      coarse, uncouth, rude, discourteous, impolite, ungentlemanly, unladylike, ill-bred, ill-mannered, churlish, gruff, uncivilized, uncultured, uncultivated, unsophisticated, unrefined, common, rough, thuggish, loutish
      View synonyms



/ˈbärbərəs/ /ˈbɑrbərəs/


Late Middle English (in barbarous (sense 2)): via Latin from Greek barbaros ‘foreign’+ -ous.