Definition of barbarity in US English:


nounPlural barbarities

  • 1Extreme cruelty or brutality.

    ‘the barbarity of the act outraged millions’
    ‘the barbarities of the last war’
    • ‘So many appalling barbarities have visited so many people over the centuries, but God has done nothing to prevent them.’
    • ‘Their barbarities are not a cry for help, but acts of total war.’
    • ‘But the barbarities of war come to disgust Inman and he deserts, embarking on an odyssey on foot back to Ada.’
    • ‘Ghastly and horrendous as it was, the sustained massacres, barbarities and cruelties committed on the Hindus that lasted off and on for almost a millennium were of an even larger magnitude.’
    • ‘But he would argue, as we all do, that such things are relative and that it contains fewer barbarities than other methods, and that none, like hunting, is in itself wholly effective.’
    • ‘Undoubtedly, Iraqi insurgents' barbarities should not be accepted.’
    • ‘At a time when the world is numbed with barbarities and deceits, Fanon, with his passionate anger, needs to be rediscovered.’
    • ‘It is an indictment of the present Beijing regime that it has created a situation in China's mines which finds its only parallels in the barbarities of wartime Japanese imperialism.’
    • ‘The terrible events of 1505 were almost nothing compared to the barbarities of the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism which would come later as capitalism grew stronger.’
    • ‘This was the impulse that led the shocked world to later discover the barbarities committed in the name of civilisation - in the memories of Auschwitz survivors, or in Warsaw Ghetto diaries.’
    • ‘He engaged in mass murder and all manner of barbarities, torture, genocide, and wholesale slaughter, while his spawn went in for retail sadism.’
    • ‘By the time the British Government began its attempts to enter into political relations with the Chinese, the barbarities of the Chinese system were becoming more obvious than its virtues.’
    • ‘We pay tribute to the Muslim religious authorities and ordinary immigrants from North Africa who have arrived at the scene of these barbarities to show their solidarity and speak up against racism.’
    • ‘Together these three witness numerous Vietnarn-esque barbarities, and the more they try to make sense of these brutalities and work toward peace, the more things go awry.’
    • ‘The gentleness of English civilisation is mixed up with barbarities and anachronisms.’
    • ‘His letters stirred Mr. Gladstone into a convulsive paroxysm of burning revolt against the barbarities they described.’
    • ‘The barbarities and iniquities of the old criminal law also disappeared permanently.’
    • ‘Given that two of these three plays were seized by the police in 1916, it also suggests it took more courage to question the first world war than it does to criticise our present-day barbarities.’
    • ‘Many regarded the cruelties and barbarities of communist regimes as inherent in communism.’
    • ‘And a much larger proportion who, while never thinking of doing such a thing themselves, can't bring themselves to condemn those barbarities too much, because of what the Koran and Hadiths say.’
    brutality, brutalism, cruelty, bestiality, barbarism, barbarousness, savagery, viciousness, fierceness, ferocity, wickedness, nastiness, ruthlessness, remorselessness, mercilessness, villainy, murderousness, heinousness, nefariousness, monstrousness, baseness, vileness, inhumanity, blackness, fiendishness, black-heartedness, hellishness, ghastliness, horror
    atrocity, act of brutality, act of savagery, evil, crime, outrage, offence, abomination, obscenity, enormity, wrong
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  • 2Absence of culture and civilization.

    ‘wildernesses were seen as places of great beauty rather than as places of barbarity’
    • ‘Many other English authors were inclined towards contrasting the barbarity of the Scots, Irish, and Welsh with the civility and polish of the English.’
    • ‘The article expresses a horror at the 'barbarity' of the 'unmeaning mummeries, dishonest debt, profuse waste, and bad example in an utter oblivion of responsibility'.’
    • ‘Culturally, Constance Garnett helped to dispel the image of barbarity with her translations of Tolstoy and other leading Russian writers.’
    • ‘They could see nothing but the state of barbarity that pertained before the truths of God were revealed.’
    • ‘The use of visual illustrations is ostensibly intended to show that the very appearance of the Irish betrays their barbarity.’
    • ‘There has been a great deal of uninformed comment about how this work resurrects the medievalism - that is, supposedly, the barbarity - of Passion plays, but I wonder how many of these critics have actually seen a medieval Passion play.’
    • ‘Cannibalism was regarded as a sign of barbarity, the marker of an uncivilised people.’
    • ‘He was troubled by the barbarity of manners on the frontier.’
    • ‘Without the culture of the Public Service, there will only be barbarity in this place.’
    • ‘According to Wong, the aestheticization of Chinese history makes it palatable, along with reinforcing the Orientalist binary opposition between eastern barbarity and western civility.’
    • ‘Even Scottish officials castigated Gaelic ('the Irish language') as 'one of the chief and principal causes of the continuance of barbarity and incivility amongst the inhabitants of the isles and highlands'.’
    • ‘The problem was not merely the barbarity and wilfulness of the native Irish, but that the initial grants to the original Anglo-Norman adventurers had been too generous.’
    • ‘These women's voices were often mediated by male authorities who shaped their stories in ways that supported colonial endeavours and reinforced an opposition between ideas of pure female virtue and native barbarity.’
    • ‘Moreover, they are characters who have absorbed the English-speaking colonialist attribution of barbarity to the Irish language and are now steeped in a culture of patient acceptance over assertive action.’
    • ‘Eleventh-century England is seen as intellectually isolated, rescued from barbarity only by Norman longships.’
    • ‘But upon his return to Europe he began to see the old continent with American eyes and from the alienating distance of his exile he noticed all the more strongly the barbarity of its remaining peculiarities.’
    • ‘They found the idea of female rulers outrageous but at the same time exciting and may have been seeking to emphasise the barbarity of the Britons by stressing female involvement in politics and warfare.’
    • ‘Some contemporaries would have seen the confrontation of the two cultures as an out and out battle, in the case of the improvers a struggle between the forces of civilization and enlightenment, and those of barbarity and heathenism.’
    • ‘These therapeutic and cosmetic uses of waste persisted well into the sphere of our modern world, and Laporte refuses to mark a clear division between the barbarity of ancient civilization and the manufactured reality of our own.’
    • ‘They believe there is a war between right and wrong, faith and falsehood, civilisation and barbarity and that all tactics are justified in the last-ditch struggle to defend what they believe in.’
    heathendom, barbarianism, barbarism, barbarousness, primitiveness, wildness
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