"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[bahr-ber-uh s] /ˈbɑr bər əs/
uncivilized; wild; savage; crude.
savagely cruel or harsh:
The prisoners of war were given barbarous treatment.
full of harsh sounds; noisy; discordant:
an evening of wild and barbarous music.
not conforming to classical standards or accepted usage, as language.
foreign; alien.
(among ancient Greeks) designating a person or thing of non-Greek origin.
Origin of barbarous
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin barbarus < Greek bárbaros non-Greek, foreign, barbarian; akin to Sanskrit barbara stammering, non-Aryan; see -ous
Related forms
barbarously, adverb
barbarousness, noun
hyperbarbarous, adjective
hyperbarbarously, adverb
hyperbarbarousness, noun
nonbarbarous, adjective
nonbarbarously, adverb
nonbarbarousness, noun
prebarbarous, adjective
prebarbarously, adverb
prebarbarousness, noun
unbarbarous, adjective
unbarbarously, adverb
unbarbarousness, noun
1. See barbarian. 2. ferocious, inhuman, brutal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for barbarous
  • Wild rivalries of savage, barbarous and civilized races.
  • The solitary pilgrim in barbarous lands halted and camped in remembrance of freedom.
  • To many others they remained shocking but somehow random acts of barbarous lunacy.
  • Although, certainly, it's better to refrain from intervening rather than doing anything outright barbarous.
  • That's as barbarous a morality as the ones you are condemning.
  • But this only proves again that history is ironic and that our barbarous species evolves in uneven ways.
  • Many died, and those who survived returned home with rustic manners and spoke the barbarous patois.
  • He viewed the region both as a barbarous source of potential riches and as a huge tract in pressing need of civilization.
  • Inanimate nature has proved more yielding than they imagined, human nature more stubborn and barbarous than they supposed.
  • In truth, the gold standard is already a barbarous relic.
British Dictionary definitions for barbarous


uncivilized; primitive
brutal or cruel
lacking refinement
Derived Forms
barbarously, adverb
barbarousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: via Latin from Greek barbaros barbarian, non-Greek, in origin imitative of incomprehensible speech; compare Sanskrit barbara stammering, non-Aryan
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for barbarous

c.1400, "uncivilized, uncultured, ignorant," from Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros (see barbarian). Meaning "not Greek or Latin" (of words or language) is from c.1500; that of "savagely cruel" is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for barbarous

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for barbarous

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with barbarous