Definition of barbarize in US English:



[with object]usually as adjective barbarizing
  • Cause to become savage or uncultured.

    ‘the barbarizing effect of four decades of rock 'n' roll’
    • ‘Other races were infantilised or barbarised, or held up as object lessons in the perils of racial degeneration.’
    • ‘The army itself was barbarized and turned into an instrument of sheer oppression.’
    • ‘It proposes a barbarising of the inside of a language (thus culture) such as is unavoidable for those coming to a culture from its outside.’
    • ‘Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.’
    • ‘Kirkeby evidently was not above barbarizing them with crude strokes and muddy patches of overpainting when they threatened to become too accessible.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘speak using barbarisms’): from late Latin barbarizare, from Greek barbarizein ‘speak like a foreigner’.