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[bahr-buh-riz-uh m] /ˈbɑr bəˌrɪz əm/
a barbarous or uncivilized state or condition.
a barbarous act; something belonging to or befitting a barbarous condition.
the use in a language of forms or constructions felt by some to be undesirably alien to the established standards of the language.
such a form or construction:
Some people consider “complected” as a barbarism.
Origin of barbarism
1570-80; < Latin barbarismus < Greek barbarismós foreign way of speaking. See barbarous, -ism
Related forms
hyperbarbarism, noun
Can be confused
barbarism, barbarity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for barbarism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • War is the last and worst stain of barbarism on the escutcheon of civilisation.

    The War and the Churches Joseph McCabe
  • A Hottentot would not have been guilty of this sort of barbarism.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • Admit that they want any barbarism eliminated from their veins.

    Villa Elsa Stuart Henry
  • They rescued the people from barbarism, and uplifted the standard of the cross.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • But the Japanese were the only ones who refused to join the westward stampede plunging the world daily deeper into barbarism.

British Dictionary definitions for barbarism


a brutal, coarse, or ignorant act
the condition of being backward, coarse, or ignorant
a substandard or erroneously constructed or derived word or expression; solecism
any act or object that offends against accepted taste
Word Origin
C16: from Latin barbarismus error of speech, from Greek barbarismos, from barbarosbarbarous
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
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Word Origin and History for barbarism

mid-15c., "uncivilized or rude nature," from French barbarisme (13c.), from Latin barbarismus, from Greek barbarismos "foreign speech," from barbarizein "to do as a foreigner does" (see barbarian). Only of speech in Greek, Latin, and French; sense extended in English to "uncivilized condition."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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