Definition of barbarism in English:



  • 1Absence of culture and civilization.

    ‘the collapse of civilization and the return to barbarism’
    • ‘And yes, sometimes you fight to give people freedom only to discover that the people choose not to choose, or that they choose barbarism to civilization.’
    • ‘The Daggian faith was based on the belief that an ancient man called Dagan had received divine insight to organize all mankind into countries and civilizations after centuries of barbarism.’
    • ‘These notions when confronted with Jahangir's own interest in, possession and treatment of elephants give rise to a particular manifestation of the ideologies of barbarism and civilization.’
    • ‘‘Differences in social ethics only exist between civilization and barbarism, not between capitalism and socialism,’ Feng said.’
    • ‘Ideas and culture are what differentiate civilization from barbarism, not the economy.’
    • ‘In fact, their absence would reduce us to barbarism and utter poverty.’
    • ‘You think that a wall as solid as the earth separates civilization from barbarism.’
    • ‘For the great Scottish skeptic, the oscillation between civilization and barbarism was coeval with human history; in ethical and political terms the future was bound to be much like the past.’
    • ‘… There was much to be said for slavery as a transitional status between barbarism and civilization.’
    • ‘Fifteen years on, and many, if not most, of the negative trends previously seen as evidence of our civilization's descent into barbarism are in reverse.’
    • ‘From the official perspective, the issue was simple: barbarism versus civilization.’
    • ‘As the parties seeking to destroy modern civilization and return to barbarism have put anti-Semitism at the top of their programs, this civilization is apparently a creation of the Jews.’
    • ‘The line between civilization and barbarism is much thinner than Downer implies.’
    • ‘It's a war between civilization and barbarism.’
    • ‘It is a clash between barbarism and civilization: the outcome and consequences of which will not be limited to the military result in Iraq.’
    • ‘And like past challenges to civilization, such barbarism thrives on Western appeasement and considers enlightened deference as weakness, if not decadence.’
    • ‘Each viewed his trial as a pivot on a line in history dividing barbarism from civilization.’
    • ‘There is an insightful section on the Bolsheviks' fear of hooliganism and their tendency to link disorder and barbarism with popular culture.’
    • ‘Their act of foundation was ‘the bright strong line between desolate barbarism and busy civilisation’.’
    • ‘In the play's opposition of civilization and barbarism, Shakespeare tends to identify with the outsiders - and thus with the charges Voltaire was to level against him.’
    1. 1.1[count noun]A word or expression which is badly formed according to traditional philological rules, e.g. a word formed from elements of different languages, such as breathalyser (English and Greek) or television (Greek and Latin).
      • ‘Purism, however, also has its barbarisms, such as the quasiclassical plurals octopi and syllabi for octopus and syllabus, competing with octopuses and syllabuses.’
      • ‘For instance, Fowler preferred Britishism to Briticism, labelling the latter a barbarism; Burchfield simply comments that Briticism is now the more usual term in scholarly work.’
      • ‘For a 15-year-old, it was - to use a modern barbarism - totally incredible.’
      • ‘It was printed in hard-to-read Gothic font, and is reproduced with all its original barbarisms, spellings and syntax.’
      wording, diction, phrasing, phraseology, style, vocabulary, terminology, expressions, turns of phrase, parlance, manner of speaking, manner of writing, way of talking, form of expression, mode of expression, usages, locutions, idiolect, choice of words, rhetoric, oratory
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  • 2Extreme cruelty or brutality.

    ‘she called the execution an act of barbarism’
    • ‘His murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything that Danny's kidnappers claim to believe in.’
    • ‘All peace loving Zambians must condemn such acts of barbarism.’
    • ‘FROM 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power, till the death of Nazism in 1945, Germans unleashed a reign of terror, cruelty and barbarism hitherto unknown in the history of mankind.’
    • ‘As a British Muslim I condemn this act of barbarism - it is wholly anti-Islamic.’
    • ‘With equal firmness we should demand of the Arab governments and the Arab media their condemnation of barbarism, brutality and terrorism in their own communities.’
    • ‘It was horrendous, and I don't see anything which could justify such acts of barbarism.’
    • ‘Griffin said, ‘When it comes to the death penalty, I am passionate because we are so overwhelmed by cruelty and barbarism and most people feel the legal system doesn't work.’’
    • ‘But history was not done with Mianshan, and in 1940 the mountain was to suffer another act of barbarism.’
    • ‘During medieval times acts of barbarism were accepted.’
    • ‘I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty.’
    • ‘The mistake Tim is making is trying to link the various forms of anti-Americanism and the specific act of barbarism which took place in New York City.’
    • ‘That the Catholic Church's bureaucracy and some of its clergy have been responsible for and/or condoned acts of barbarism is beyond question.’
    • ‘This thing is worth a huge amount to the city of Edinburgh and it would be an obscenity, an act of barbarism, if there was any threat.’
    • ‘This means that Australians are fighting with and in support of troops who routinely commit what we rightly regard as atrocities - acts of barbarism which are war crimes under Australian law.’
    • ‘This case is the epitome of the brutality, the barbarism, and the cruelty of state regulated nonviolent behavior.’
    • ‘The barbarism and cruelty of what Preston was describing is almost beyond belief.’
    • ‘‘For primary school children to have witnessed such an act of barbarism shows the men of violence have reached new levels of depravity,’ he said.’
    • ‘The history of mankind is littered with appalling acts of barbarism, cruelty and hatred.’
    • ‘The EU utterly condemns the perpetrators and sponsors of these acts of barbarism.’
    • ‘Cruelty was his escape from guilt; barbarism his act of denial.’
    brutality, savagery, savageness, inhumanity, barbarism, barbarousness, brutishness, bloodthirstiness, murderousness, viciousness, ferocity, ferociousness, fierceness
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Late Middle English: from Old French barbarisme, via Latin from Greek barbarismos, from barbarizein speak like a foreigner, from barbaros foreign.