Word Origin & History
mid-14c., from M.L. barbarinus (cf. O.Fr. barbarin "Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian"), from L. barbaria "foreign country," from Gk. barbaros "foreign, strange, ignorant," from PIE base *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners (cf. Skt. barbara- "stammering," also "non-Aryan"). Greek 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.